Goals Archive

Special New Year’s Post: Expand!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year of being the best you can be!

 

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When Your Past Comes Calling

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

When I appeared recently as a guest on Deb Sofield’s radio show, I sat engrossed as she delivered the first part of the program. She provides a monologue for the first few minutes of her show where she pours out her wisdom into the lives of her listeners.

Her message was about when your past calls. Her advice? DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE! Why? Because it has nothing new to say!

Here’s a truth: your past will ALWAYS come back to haunt you. Raise your hand if your mama told you that. Yes, I see all those hands flying up. Of course she did. It’s absolutely true!

Unfortunately, the one thing mama left out was telling you what to do at that moment when the past comes calling. And—God bless mama’s heart—because she left that part out, we have automatically concluded without a conscious thought whatsoever that we’re obligated to answer the door… or pick up the proverbial phone and have an endearing conversation with our past.

Not so!

In fact, we are under no obligation whatsoever to do anything even remotely resembling that.

Seriously.

So, you’ve made mistakes in the past. But today, you’re moving on and making a go of a new lease on life. Right in the middle of getting your groove on, working your mojo and creating your magic, here comes your past, lumbering into the room.

As Deb put it, your proverbial phone rings. The caller ID shows you it’s that dreaded call from your past. Let’s think for a moment. Remember the last time you were right in the middle of your favorite TV program and the phone rang? You checked to see who was calling and realized it was a telemarketer.

Not one of you pulled away from Castle or Downton Abby to talk to a telemarketer you never asked to speak to, who is intruding upon your “now” and trying to dump something off on you that you don’t want in your life.

What’s more, you don’t feel guilty about it in the least. Why? You value what you’re doing much more than you’ll get from the interruption, or what it has to give you.

It’s the exact same thing when your past comes to call. It’s an unwanted—and dare I say unneeded—interruption in your today. Contrary to what you’ve assumed is good and proper “My Past Will Come Back to Haunt Me” etiquette, you simply have no obligation whatsoever to entertain it when it shows up at your door.

You can’t go back and change it. You’ve already learned from it. You’ve already moved on from it. So why would you want to let it move in on you again? That’s like wanting to relive a root canal or brain surgery. Ummm… no.

The lock is on the inside of the door where you are. The answer button on that emotional phone is in your hand. It’s completely up to you and uniquely YOUR decision. DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE!

Thank you,Deb Sofield, for such an empoweringmessage.

How many times has your past come calling and you answered the door or picked up the phone? I really want to know your answer. Leave me a comment and let me know. Also, has it come calling and you didn’t answer? Share it here!

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Impossible is Only a Word

Posted January 20, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Decades ago in Nicaragua, a young man had a dream of playing a guitar for the Pope. People didn’t believe he would ever do it. In fact, they thought he was chasing pipe dreams. Here’s why:

 

  • Tony was from a tiny village. No one notable had ever come from that village.
  • The Pope had never come to that village and Tony had no means to get out of it.
  • His family was very poor.

 

Oh, did I mention Tony didn’t have a guitar and didn’t know how to play?

Oh wait… there’s something else. Tony had no arms. As a result of thalidomide his mother took while pregnant, Tony Melendez was born with no arms.

With all those things going against him, there was no way Tony would ever live his dream. Right? Ummm, no.

On September 15, 1987, he sang Never Be the Same while playing his guitar for the Pope with his feet!

I learned about Tony when his first book, A Gift of Hope, was published in 1989. I’ve never seen him play. I’ve never heard anyone else mention his name, and yet, I’ve NEVER forgotten his story. Why? Because Tony taught me that impossible is just a word.

Every time I think I can’t do something, inevitably Tony comes to mind. He didn’t let the mere fact that he has no arms prevent him from living his dream of playing the guitar for the Pope. Since there is NO challenge I face that is of that magnitude, I’m encouraged… and challenged to trudge onward in pursuit of my dreams.

What about you? Do you consider impossible a word or a brick wall that separates you from living your dream? Publishing houses went out of business last year. You’ve gotten a bazillion rejection letters. You had to move out of your house in the snow and your computer slid on the ice from Michigan to Alaska.

Okay, I get it. Those are challenges to be sure but do they really prevent you from living your dream? Really? I don’t think so. Neither should you.

You should dream. And since you’re dreaming, might as well dream big. And if you’re dreaming big, there should be NOTHING that you’ll accept as a reason to not continue pursuing it. Not deadlines, negative feedback or even NO ARMS!

You see, I have it on good authority—a no armed man who played the guitar for the pope—that impossible is only a word.

 What seemingly impossible thing stands in the way of you living your dream? Share it here!

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Don’t Go at it Alone

Posted January 13, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Early yesterday morning, I sat looking out over the lake. The neighborhood ducks had also just awakened and waddled down to the water. They floated around lazily, no doubt grateful the lake was no longer covered with ice.

In the distance I heard the honks of a flock of geese. As if using radar, they made their way to the body of water and landed in the middle. Seconds later they all began a honking frenzy. Suddenly, another flock of geese joined them. Then a third, and fourth. The honk alert system was deployed each time.

Within moments, the center of the lake was completely filled with geese. They and the ducks paddled around the lake with not a care in the world. Indeed, they had it made.

As I sat there and gazed at these beautiful creatures and their habits, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like if any of them had tried to go at it alone. First, it would have quickly tired flapping it’s wings into the wind with no other goose to draft behind. 

And, it would not have been able to find this small lake nestled among the trees in Appalachia. Even in the winter, it’s covered by trees. 

Now, as I write this, the geese and ducks are floating around in the placid lake as the sun makes its way toward the western horizon. The water fowl have had a peaceful day. So have I just watching them.

I wonder if you’re relying on your fellow geese or if you’re trying to go at it alone. I’m notoriously a do-it-yourself-er. It’s hardwired into my independent DNA. So, I’ve had more than my share of flying alone looking for the lake. And, my arms have gotten really tired flapping into the wind. I’m predisposed to this type of challenge.

But what about you? Do you fly with others who share your goals and are heading in the same direction you are? Or, do you try to go at it alone? Well, it is possible to get where you’re going by flying solo, but it’s not easy. In fact, it’s very difficult. 

You deserve to be able to draft sometimes as you fly. You also deserve to have others who have already landed signal you so you’ll know where to head for rest, rejuvenation and even a new place to call home. 

Let yourself be guided by others who have gone before you. Let the trusted geese in your life honk you home. Let them flap in front of you once in a while. You’ll be happier, healthier and whole. 

Who has gone before you and shows you the way? How do you feel about it? Do you let them? Share it here!

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Go Boldly, or Wimpy… but GO!

Posted January 9, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I grew up as a die hard Star Trek fan. I couldn’t wait for the next episode: I knew the intro by heart and recited it with the announcer:

“…to BOLDY go where no man has gone before!”

I always wanted to be a part of that exploration. My heart yearned to head out to places unknown in search of… well, something. Some call it a pioneer spirit. Others, insanity. To me, it’s just who I am.

Heading Out at Sunrise

 

I wish I could say that I was like Daniel Boone or the astronauts who walked on the moon. Unfortunately, even though many times I did head out in search of something, I was pretty wimpy about it.

Know what I learned about that? Here are just a few things:

Whether I go wimpy or boldly, I still get where I want to go. That’s encouraging. And empowering. I also gain more boldness the farther I go putting my frightened foot forward.

Boldness is overrated. The emphasis should be on the “go” part. Courage is not the absence of fear. It’s moving forward in pursuit of your dream in spite of your fear.

Boldness slips up on you. Piece by piece, boldness is build. The mighty tower is constructed by each and every success you have, no matter how small. Suddenly, you discover you are a fortress of bold confidence.

2036_bmx

Everyone’s a wimp on the inside. It’s true. Underneath that strong exterior you see in some, they are afraid. The only difference between them and perhaps you is they felt their fear and pursued their dream anyway. They focused on the “go” part, rather than the wimpy feeling they had.

You have 100% total and complete control over that. You can put one step in front of the other. You can apply for that job. You can talk to that agent or editor. You can lay the groundwork for that incredible business you dreamed of owning. It’s completely up to you.

Success is sweet but it isn’t always reached with finesse. Sometimes even the greatest winners cross the finish line on their hands and knees panting and drooling. But they still cross first and win the race. When they’re standing on the podium getting the medal placed around their necks, do you think it mattered how they looked when they crossed the finish line first? Umm… no.

Victory girl by Photostock FDP

Look, bold is good. Going and getting where you want to be is better. Much better. Just do it. Wimpy or not, GO! You’ll be glad you did and the world will be changed. So will you!

When was the last time you set off to achieve a goal? How did you feel? What was the outcome? Share it here!

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2014 Road to Freedom: It’s All About YOU!

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

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I spent most of 2013 preparing for and pedaling across America on the Road to Freedom Tour> I was able to help women across the country who are victims of violent assault. It was the most amazing adventure of my life. I will never be the same.

Reporter Steve Beavers and me.

Reporter Steve Beavers and me.

Thank you for your support, your prayers, your love and encouragement as I took this message on the road. It’s what kept me going when times got tough. You gave me the strength to face each obstacle and endure every challenge. As I reached out to these women, I was your hands outstretched.

I’ve prayed long and hard about the next steps for Road to Freedom. While I don’t yet have all the answers, I have come to one conclusion. I MUST help you set and reach your bold goals. You deserve to live your dream. The world needs your unique message.

To that end, during 2014, the Road to Freedom blog will be devoted to helping YOU. Pure and simple. I will encourage YOU. I will provide insight and tools to help YOU live your dream. I will help YOU get beyond those roadblocks and to scale those mountains that stand in the way.

Dream Road

I’ll share stories of those who overcame. I’ll inspire you to reach beyond what you thought you were capable of achieving. I’ll walk with you this year just like you pedaled with me last year. I’m so grateful for you. This is my way of giving back to you. 

I look forward to a wonderful year together. I expect to hear from you. I want to know about your successes, your disappointments, your challenges. I want to celebrate your wins with you and let  you cry on my shoulder during those inevitable times when you fall short of the mark you set for yourself. 

Thank you for an amazing 2013. Thank you also for allowing me to pay it back in this way in 2014. 

Have you set your 2014 goals yet? If not, please do that this week. If you don’t, you’ll blink at it will be April.

Who do you know that would benefit from this encouragement and inspiration? Please invite them to join my mailing list so I can send it to them automatically every day.

"The Beginning" Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.

What are your biggest challenges you face this year? Send me an email at reba@rebajhoffman.com. I’ll be sure to address those in upcoming blog posts and offer sound advice.

Together, you and I will make this the most amazing and successful year yet. 

What are your goals for this year? Did you write them down yet? Share them here.

 

 

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There’s Always a Way

Posted September 27, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

When I set out on my forty mile bike ride from Orange Park, Florida to Dames Point, I knew it would be a challenging forty mile trek. I would ride through some quaint neighborhoods that are beautiful but would also have to travel some major surface roads.

Rush Hour Traffic

My experience from riding in Jacksonville for many years has been anything but friendly to bicyclists. I’ve had many close calls and just as many friends who have been struck by vehicles. Yet, I needed to get from where I picked up Dakota to where I was staying.

So, when I got to one very busy road with no shoulder, I figured out another way. I took to the sidewalk. Portions I rode while others I walked. Runners from the local high school track team sprinted by me even when I rode. Just inches away, cars whizzed by trying to avoid the rush hour traffic.

I wound my way to my destination using backstreets and made it safely home. When you really want to get somewhere, there’s always a way.

Main Street Bridge from the SouthBank

Main Street Bridge from the SouthBank

The St. Johns River winds through Jacksonville and there are only seven bridges that a person can cross. What’s more, only two of them are open for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. All are very heavily traveled. You simply can’t get from one side of the city to the other without crossing a bridge.

Today a ship struck one of the bridges: The Matthews Bridge causing structural damage. Witnesses say they saw steel falling from the bridge into the river after the ship collided with it. The bridge was immediately closed.

Thousands of motorists were forced to find another way. They made it to their destinations, perhaps to a cold supper but they made it. Because they wanted to get home to see their families, they found a way. There’s always a way.

In your own life, you have dreams and desires. Some, like stopping at Dairy Queen for ice cream, are easy. Others, not so much. Some of them are downright difficult, if not impossible. But, just like getting from where I was to where I needed to be, there’s always a way.

There's always a way

There’s always a way

It might not be pretty. I certainly didn’t look pro cyclist as I weaved and bobbed around telephone poles on the sidewalks or when I walked my bike alongside the railroad tracks. If I’d focused on how I looked, I’d have deemed my ride a dismal failure. Looking good isn’t the point. Getting safely from point A to point B is.

In your own life, don’t get hung up on those things that are not important. Focus on what’s important. When you feel stuck, remember, no matter what, there’s always a way to live your dream, and to get you where you need to be. Relax and enjoy the journey. 

When did you get stuck by focusing on the wrong thing? Did you figure a way to get through it? Share it here!

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It’s a Good Morning!

Posted September 24, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

As you read this I’m most likely flexing my knee and loving being reunited with Dakota. Yesterday I road from south Jacksonville to Orange Park and connected with BiknJeanne one more time for some fine tuning on Dakota. Too bad Jeanne didn’t have a tool to fine tune my knee.

Jacksonville, Florida Skyline from the River Walk Trail

Jacksonville, Florida Skyline from the River Walk Trail

After lunch, she showed me the way to get past Interstate 295 without getting on horribly congested roads. I really enjoyed the artistic abilities of locals in graffitti as I walked my bike past the underpass along the CSX railroad line. Fortunately, there where no homeless people there, and not a drug deal took place for the half mile I walked.

Back on the road again, I snaked through the south part of Jacksonville again and finally to downtown. They really have tried to spruce up the area so it was nice to see the improvements. It was even nicer to be back on the bike. The Jacksonville Landing never looks better than from the seat of a bicycle while riding along the River Walk. 

Yeah, happy to be on the bike again!

Yeah, happy to be on the bike again!

You really can’t get anywhere in Jacksonville without going over a bridge. The St. Johns River snakes through the River City. Only two bridges are open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic. I could take the Acosta Bridge, the newest of all the downtown bridges and built high enough that ships could go underneath without having to raise it.

Or I could take the oldest bridge, The Main Street Bridge. It’s typical old Florida. Drawbridge. Steel grading across the top. Narrow sidewalks but constructed at the most narrow part of the river in downtown. I opted for the Baby Blue Main Street Bridge but not before stopping at the Jacksonville Landing just to look around.

Dakota at the Jacksonville Landing

Dakota at the Jacksonville Landing

All in all, Dakota and I traveled forty miles together and road in and out of misty rain. He performed admirably even after being shipped all the way from Indiana. It really was a GOOD morning!

I know you’re wondering about how the knee feels after riding forty miles. Well, Jacksonville is primarily flat, except for the bridges so it was a pretty easy ride. And my knee is doing just fine. A little sore after the ride but other than that, perfect!

I’m so grateful for God’s continued healing. I won’t ride tomorrow. It’s supposed to rain anyway so I’ll get some writing done!

As it looks right now, I may be looking at a departure from the east coast of Florida somewhere around October 8th. BiknJeanne and I discussed the possibility of her riding the first 75 miles or so together. That would be such a thrill. 

Thank you all for your continued support, prayers, encouragement and for helping me spread the word about Road to Freedom. There is always a way. It continues! Who knows, I could be pedaling to YOUR town!

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Trust God…No Matter What

Posted September 18, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I’ve gotten an barrage of emails, phone calls, texts, messages from all over the country wanting to know where I am right now. No one-including me-knew where I’d be after my conference in Indianapolis.

Preparing for Departure in Greenville, SC 7-13-3So, to set the record straight, I’m homeless! Seriously! But it’s not what you think. Two months before I departed on the Road to Freedom Tour, I gave up a rented condo in Orlando, put my belongings in storage and headed to South Carolina to do some hill training. Today, my belongings (yes, all my woodcarvings I created out of pieces of wood) remain in storage. There simply wasn’t room to take them on the bike. 🙂

Today, I’m in northern Florida. I’ve had to recharge my cell phone four times today because I’ve been on an endless number of phone calls plotting and planning the next step of my journey. Before I tore my rotator cuff in my shoulder and the medial collateral ligament in my knee, I knew Road to Freedom was growing very big. I was already getting picked up by local and regional media.

I’d also talked to 1346 women in 1700 miles of pedaling. That’s almost a woman per mile average. There are too many women who must hear this message and get set free from the emotional prison to reach them all by bicycle. When I tore the ligament in my knee, I knew it was bad. Really bad. It would take weeks and probable surgery to repair it.

Interestingly, except for the two hours I spent on sitting on the side of the road dizzy from my injury and unable to stand, I’ve had not a single moment of angst regarding the injury, or the fact that I wouldn’t be mounting Dakota again for a while. I trust God. This is all part of His divine plan for me, countless women and Road to Freedom.

How do I know? I can’t list all the miraculous things God did on this trip in a single blog post. There are just too many and blog posts are way too short. Guess you’ll have to get the book when it comes out, but I would like to tell you a couple. I only recently revealed these publicly. You’ll see why in a moment.

When I knew God led me to do this, I told him I would go wherever He wanted me to go and do whatever He wanted me to do. That was my reasonable service. He, on the other hand, would have to be Jehovah Jireh, my provider. I put away credit cards, debit cards and access to assets of any kind. When I rolled out of Greenville, South Carolina on July 13th, no one but God knew that I had only twenty-two dollars and change in my pocket.

twenty-two dollars and change

I spent 60 days making my way across the country and traveled over 1700 miles. Not once did I ever ask for money or tell anyone about how much money I did (or didn’t) have. In fact, I never mentioned money to anyone. In 60 days I never ran out of money. I never missed a meal. I never lacked for any need to be met. God stirred the hearts of His children, complete strangers, to buy my lunch, or give me water.  I decided early on to trust God…no matter what.

When I injured my shoulder and my knee, I didn’t fret. I knew God was in this tour and there would be a way to continue Road to Freedom even off the bike. Turns out, I’ve done more ministry and met more women off the bike than on it. More women have received the message that God loves them and wants them to be free of the fear, shame and horror of their attack than  in the two months of riding. 

While I was sitting with my leg propped up in a recliner chair, my friend Melody offered these words that have since turned out to be rather prophetic, “If you can’t go to them, God will bring them to you.” At the time, I thought she was referring to a particular speaking engagement I had that week. Turns out, God had different plans. 

I’ve learned to trust God… no matter what. Whether I have a flat tire, a torn ligament or no clear direction, I know I can still trust God. That truth brings peace. And God is completely trustworthy. He’s proven that over and over again. So take it from a woman who rode 1700 miles by faith, you can trust God… no matter what!

Are you trusting God? When was the last time you were placed in a position when you had to trust Him? Share it here! 

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Your Life in an Hour

Posted August 30, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.
Helga and me... new budds

Helga and me… new budds

Remember Helga, the German lady I wrote about in my Bride # 497  blog post? I had privilege of seeing her again yesterday. I could tell she was a bit down, and lonely.

I settled into a chair across the table from her as she reached into her memory and began to pull out stories. She recounted nights in Germany when she danced the night away with soldiers who were lucky enough to punch her dance card. 

She also told of walking out of the bomb shelter to find a German and Russian tank about the square off. She ran back into the shelter while a man waved a white flag to let them know there were innocent people inside who meant not harm to either army.

We laughed when she remembered how Russian soldiers who came to her home accidentally flushed potatoes down the toilet, not knowing what it was. They’d blasted it with their machine guns while screaming, “SABOTAGE!!!!”

I’ve never heard these stories on the news. Nor have I read them in a book but they are so vital and full of the realness of what

individuals suffered in World War II.

Helga’s face lit up as she regaled us with story after story of dancers, soldiers and coming to America. She left the big city of Berlin andSoldiers Executing Improvised Explosive Device Sweep in Iraq landed on a farm in the back country outside Nebo, Kentucky. Chickens and horses harassed her on her trips to the outhouse. She was completely out of her element, and yet, love made a way.

Love taught Helga how to live in America. She followed her husband to the hills where he’d been bread, across a wide ocean in a terrible war. She worked hard in a strange, new world and found a way to be happy, content and successful.

Today, Helga lives alone and doesn’t get many visitors. Her daughter-in-law, Clydean, takes food to her every day and sits with her while she eats. Her life and history are so rich with amazing experiences and yet, there is no one there to listen.

So Helga barely took a breath during our hour stay. She forgot about her loneliness. She forgot about her pain. For a brief hour, she was waltzing with a handsome man around the dance floor in her homeland, knowing she’d been lucky enough to grab the greatest catch.

As I hugged her goodbye and rode off, I wondered if I’d be able to tell my life story in an hour. I wondered if anyone would be there to listen when I’m 89. Helga is one of the most wealthy women I’ve ever met. No, her wealth does not reflect in her bank account and she lives in a modest home. Her wealth is in the rich life she’s lived.

WaltzingHelga’s story should be told. The history of the war from the eyes of a child is priceless. The struggles she faced as a young bride in a strange culture are revealing and her zest for life is infectious. I was filled to the brim when I walked out of Helga’s home. In my mind’s eye, I was right there in that bomb shelter with her. I danced the polka with her. I suffered through the outhouse.

I thank God that Helga and my lives have crossed. I’m richly blessed by her life, both the history of her life past, and the fullness of her
presence today. I hope I can have that rich, full life to talk about when I have an hour with someone willing to listen.

God bless you, Helga, dear friend.

If you had an hour to tell your life story, what would you say? 

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