Talking About The Prodigal Son’s

We all should know the acclaimed story of the prodigal son, but if you don’t, in summary the story or parable depicts two sons. One older and one younger. The younger son wakes up one day and demands that his father would give him his share of the estate. He demanded it, he didn’t say “father, can you please give me my share of my estate.” Maybe he had something grand in mind for his future, but he didn’t. Rather he took the money and burned a hole through it all.

Before you know it, he found himself wanting to eat the same food that the pigs ate. Then, he makes up his mind to go back to his fathers house, only this time he will come home armed with a great speech. One that tugs at his fathers heart. But little did he know, that his father stood night and day watching for his son. And he did what fathers didn’t do at the time.

He ran toward his son, wrapped him up in his arms and kisses his face over and over. It was as though he was mad with love for his son.  His father puts a ring on his finger, a fine robe and even throws a party for him. And never once mentions his sons transgression.

The older brother doesn’t take so kindly to his fathers reaction to his youngest son coming home. He even says “I’ve been loyal to you for years and you never through me a party!” Not many talk about the older son, but we must, because his reaction is also our reaction in our own lives. Or at least it is for me, it’s my response when I feel I have been nothing but loyal to others and assume that I get nothing in return.

In all honesty, I am both sons, I run away from my fathers house and love. And make a mess of my life, yet he keeps taking me back over and over again. He runs to me, wraps me up and kisses my face over and over… But I am also the older son, when I feel God has wronged me, thus sin rises up inside me which screams “You owe me God!”

But I so quickly forget that he has already given me everything…. everything…. And so much more awaits me after this life. Let us combat our prideful, arrogant hearts lest we forget about how much our father loves us and has given us. Who takes us back over and over. 

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Talking About The Prodigal Son’s

What Makes A Good Leader?

I read recently that “there are no bad teams, only bad leaders.” Which makes think Okay, I am a leader, where can I not only confess that I’ve failed but where can I improve? Because ever leader will fall, but the strongest admit where they have fell short and look to improve. They don’t make excuses and they damn sure don’t blame others for their failures. Everyone is a leader in some capacity, be it in a family, a job whatever it is. It’s time to lead the way, forgetting what lies behind and pressing on toward the goal. Strive for excellence, strive to be better than you were yesterday. Don’t look down on others (that only makes you prideful and arrogant) but instead, learn to help others to their feet, help make others better. Show others that they can be better, why? If nobody else will, then who? Step up and get after it. Out!

What Makes A Good Leader?

Adapt And Rise

Our excuses to not take care of ourselves are no more.

The reasons we have to not better ourselves, don’t stand up to what the modern day adaptive athlete can do.

Being born with Cerebral Palsy, I was told that there was a low chance of survival, and if I lived. I wouldn’t amount to much. If you heard this story before and feel like you’re reading the same blog over again, I’m sorry but this is my story. And I will gladly proclaim how God took a frail child and turned him into a warrior.

On this day, maybe you feel down and out, depressed, suicidal, feel alone and feel like you could never amount to much. I get it, I’ve been there, but I’m here today to tell you that you can rise above and conquer all of that. Maybe you have bad health, or hate the way your body looks. Okay, lets start making changes right this second.

Maybe you have no use of your legs, okay, you can have a strong upper body!

Maybe you have one leg or arm, that just means that you have to be willing to adapt to your circumstances. There are ways to adapt upper body lifts to those with only one arm. If you have a prosthetic leg, awesome  there’re so many ways you can adapt exercises and functional movements to fit your needs.

Have an autoimmune, still not the end of the world, take the journey of finding good coaches that can help you. Go slow, listen to your body. And go fourth in your journey.

Please understand that, in no way do I intend to sound un-compassionate. Nor am I implying that any of this will be easy. It is because of compassion and love, that I am imploring you  today to not sit in your excuses and settle for anything less then your best.

Do I have my bad days? Yes,  but warriors rise after they fall, they get up after a needed rest.  Greatness comes from darkness, use the pain, use the hurt to drive forward to a better tomorrow. I’ll say it again, there are no short cuts, no self help books or remedies that can make the journey any easier.

What will help is hope. faith. Love and community. These are real things with eternal significants. Whatever is holding you back today, whatever is keeping you from progress. Face it. Don’t give it authority a second longer. Your life matters. Make the most of it.

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Adapt And Rise

Why I don’t Think Being Inspiring Is A Bad Thing.

 

 

For those that have followed my blogs, know that I embrace the term of adaptive athlete with open arms. Furthermore, the term adaptive athlete, didn’t exist ten years ago. Obviously, my father had a lot to do with getting me started on that journey with martial arts and weight lifting. But when I discovered CF, I do anyone knew what was about to happen. The moment I saw it, I wanted to try it, but I was hesitant in a few ways. One, I wasn’t sure how my body would respond to it and two, wasn’t sure how coaches would respond to someone like me. Would they baby me? Or would they simply send me away?

The moment I saw Steph Hammerman doing CF on YouTube, the green light in me switched on. I loved that coaches were so willing to adapt to the context that she was in. To me, it was far better than any amount of money spent on physical therapy at a hospital. Fast forward a few years and now there is competition specifically for us adaptive athletes. How I personally feel about some of them is a whole other blog entry. But the point of this particular entry is, people like myself frequent social media posts, largely because of the platform that I have to inspire others to get off the couch and start improving their lives one step at a time.

That doesn’t sound bad, right? In fact, it might seem motivating and inspiring, right? Well… Some people have a problem with the word inspiring or people telling them about how inspiring they are.

To a point I get it, we want to be treated like everybody else. I get it. But I will respectfully raise a few points of my own. One) You can’t keep others from being inspired by you, in fact the person that is inspired by you, will go to their friends and speak of how much they are inspired by you even though you may not want to hear it. Two) this is the platform we have, and it’s not going away anytime soon. This is not about any sort of special treatment, that’s not even what adaptations are about. But giving everyone an equal chance to perform at their best. Finally, I would respectfully suggest that inspiring others is what the fitness community is all about, for no man is an island to themselves. We can keep to ourselves and stay in our pride, but where is the joy and fun in that? Our community shines much brighter when we can encourage each other regardless of age or ability. Get used to people being inspired by people such as you and I, Because people are always watching us and as such that should be more than enough to be an agent for change.

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Why I don’t Think Being Inspiring Is A Bad Thing.

Rediscovering Discipline

For the past several weeks, I’ve been listening to a lot of Jocko Willink. He is a former Navy Seal and BJJ black belt under the legendary Dean Lister. I’ve found myself drawn to the fact that he talks so much about self-discipline, in fact, he says that discipline is freedom. I can remember being in college and getting up at 5 AM most every morning, usually because I was scared of waking up late and missing breakfast, class or whatever was on task for the day.

The fact that my father was in the military sure helped with this, and the fact that my mom, would have to get me up early to get ready for school only added to the fact that my body and mind would become accustomed to rising early and chipping away at the day. As a kid, I hated it, wanted to sleep in more and be a bit lazy. But eventually I got used to it. The early rise and grind is what would carry me through a huge majority of my life.

Because my parents disciplined me in such away, conditioned me to get the job done. Even when I didn’t want to. In college I would be done with assignments way before other people were. People would often tell me “I don’t know how you do it..” And at the time, the only answer I had was that God gave me parents to help train me to live in such a way. And that the Lord is faithful in waking me up each and everyday. Was I perfect at it, no way, in fact there were days when I would hit the snooze button once or twice.

Another way of saying it, was I went through the daily motions of life. I’ve always been taught that this was a bad thing, especially being a Christian. But Jocko says that you go through the motions and do it anyway.

Don’t feel like reading my bible? do it any way!

Don’t feel like praying? do it anyway!

Don’t feel like lifting heavy weight? do it anyway!

You’ll feel better having done it. Because the the things we don’t want to do, are the things we need to do the most. It’s how you get ahead in life and how you succeed. Living a life of discipline, I believe, is how we see a difference not only in ourselves. But others, meaning that we can greater help people wherever they are at in life. Living the disciplined life is how we combat our vices, the temptations, the addiction, the bad habits that only long to derail us.

Discipline wins the battle, discipline is wisdom. Discipline may very well be the voice of the grand commander and chief saying, “Hey, I love you, now get up, get on mission and get it done!

Discipline, from the Christian perspective, is not so much our own might. But His, but thats for another blog!images.duckduckgo

 

 

 

Rediscovering Discipline

Company and Hope

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33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33 (CSB)

 

Lately I’ve been taking Uber to get to CrossFit once a week, and it’s been really fun, I’ve had the opportunity of chatting with some awesome people along the way. Normally before each ride, I say a little prayer, for safety and that God might allow me to have the words to inspire hope in some way and even talk about my faith and love for Jesus. As cliche as it sounds, I mean that in the least cliche way possible.

Yesterday though, when my first ride came and got me I didn’t pray. I got in the car, locked in my seat belt and quickly noticed the cigarettes and lighter near me. As soon as we pulled out of the drive way, this man, (whom we will call- Sam) starts talking to me about how it’s been a long day of driving, and that it would be an even longer night of baking. As that is his second job when he is not driving people around.

I asked him “do you ever have a day off?” He chuckled a bit and said “No, I can’t really have a day off, I work hard to support my daughter… But, my daughter ran away from home again, she’s been gone almost 2 weeks. She took off with some really horrible people. She was doing so well.” At this point, all I could do was say that I was sorry for his pain and listen to what he had to say.

I’m angry he said “And I can feel the depression coming back…. She was doing so well, but she ran off again with those idiots man! What don’t they understand about not coming on my damn property?”

 

I know sir, I said,  “she hangs out with bad company and it corrupts her” it was at this point that I remembered the verse above and wondered if Sam knew he was paraphrasing the bible. Before we reached my stop, I said “sir, if I have learned anything in my short life and all my training in psychology, it’s that there is always hope. Even in the darkest of times.”

Sam looked at me and said “Did they teach you that in school?”

“No” I said in response, “that’s what I believe about life.” He looked at me and said “well, sometimes people need to know what it’s like to be down, down, down and have no hope first.”  I thought to myself “but I have.”  I  want you to take away a few things from this:

  1. It matters who we let into our lives, regardless of age. The more we are around a person or a group of people. The more they influence us, for better or for worse. That being said, be selective of who you let in (and out) of your life, know what your boundaries are and if people don’t respect them. Get rid of them. Lastly, listen to the wisdom of those you trust. If someone close to you says that they are not sure about someone or group of people, listen to that. It’ll save you from a lot of heart ache.

Remember that how dark things get in life, it can always get better.

-Brandon

 

 

 

Company and Hope

Remember Hope is Greater Than Evil

Over the past month, maybe more, I’ve been working a night job at a non profit called Project Harmony. This particular non profit deals with helping guide children who have been abused (either by violence or sexual abuse). Project Harmony also aids in helping parents heal through the process as well. It’s a great place to work, our building has everything under one roof: Police, nurses, a nice unit to stay in should a child or family need a place to stay temporarily

To get the job I worked with another non profit called Vocational Rehab, they helped prepare for the job interview process and so on. It’s honestly amazing how God works for our good. Project Harmony is right across the street from Vocational Rehab. On a morning that I was scheduled for an appointment there, my Dad and I had gotten lost. As a result we pulled into the parking lot of Project Harmony and without thinking I said to my Dad “wouldn’t it be cool if I got a job here?”

Well, looked what happened? A few weeks later, after a few weeks later and a background check (and a job interview-can’t forget that!) I got the job! My job mainly consists of working after hours, buzzing in clients, making sure kids have snacks, water and are enjoying themselves before they go and meet with either the police or therapist. Simple right? It may look simple, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t leave work with a deep anger at the evil and injustice that these kids have had to endure. Emails that come in on different people just turn my stomach inside out.

And I honestly don’t see the full brunt of what the therapists and police have to deal with on a daily basis. To which I have a profound respect for every individual that has to see the much darker side of our work. Alas, in the midsts of see such darkness on the days that I do work. I LOVE my job. My prayer is that God works through me in the small things, brightening the child’s day, smiling at a parent and offering a small bit of encouragement where I can.  Trying to help the police and therapists where I can.

There has only been a struggle inside me, as it relates to the evil that is seen in any capacity where I work. And rightly so, if I wasn’t angry at this evil I would naturally wonder if there was something wrong or off in my soul. At least I hope. As I spend personal time in quiet reflection, I yet again come to the understand that hope and love are bigger than evil. And while evil to an extent calls for a bit of holy anger, it is vastly more important to remember hope.

Remember hope, dwell in hope, live in hope and be hope. Do not become blind or naive to the forces of evil in this world, for doing so creates a unhealthy delusion of granger. But as we have learned in mindfulness therapy, let us learn to be present to the hope that we have and give it as a candle gives light to a dark room.

-Brandon

 

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Remember Hope is Greater Than Evil