To Dream the Impossible Dream!

I have learned to use the word impossible with the utmost caution Werner von Braun

What makes a goal or task impossible? Fear? Difficult Odds?

I love a quote by Dieter F. Uchtdorf. It says, “When God works through us, No one and Nothing can stand against us.”

I have several “impossible goals”. I don’t know how long it will take to accomplish them but accomplish them I will. I know this not because I believe that I am smarter than anyone else or more talented than anyone else – I know this because I know that I am being guided in these goals by God.

I don’t know all that there is to know but I do know that God has guided me before and with that guidance, I have done things that others considered impossible. Therefore, I believe in His ability to guide me to do the impossible any and every time I feel a task from God in my heart.

Are you listening to your heart? I hope that you realize that your heart needs to be listened to! I also hope you know that God knows you best and He knows what will bring you abundance and joy much better than you do!

I hope as you read today’s inspirational story that you will listen to your heart and what it is telling you! Enjoy!

When Your Goal Is the Impossible by Dan Pallotta 

(Written in 2010)

I’m writing this because a plane carrying an Uruguayan rugby team went down in the Andes mountains 38 years ago.

Twenty-one years later Frank Marshall made a movie called Alive based on the story. The film brings to life the experiences of 29 people who survived the crash and struggled to remain alive in the snow and freezing temperatures of the Andes for three interminably long months. An avalanche takes the lives of eight of them one morning. Five others die from their injuries and exposure during the ordeal. After learning by radio that efforts to find them had been called off, two of the survivors set out on an impossible odyssey to breach the Andes and send a rescue team back.

At one point during their quest one of them calls to his friend, “Come up here, man, you’ve got to see this, it’s beautiful.” The audience thinks he sees civilization. The camera pans to his view to show a nauseating infinity of snow-capped mountain peaks. No end in sight.

His friend says, “We’re going to die up here.” And the other replies, “Do you know what it is that we made it this far? It’s impossible, that’s what it is. If we’re going to die, we’re going to die walking.”

They breach the Andes. They find their way to the green valleys of Chile and make contact with the outside world. The closing scene of the film is of the survivors hearing helicopter engines and then seeing the choppers come into full view, with the two friends that saved them waving from inside.

The credits rolled and I couldn’t stop crying.

For two years before I saw the film, I’d had this idea for a 600-mile bicycle ride to raise money for AIDS but was too intimidated to do anything about it. Walking out of the theater, some voice that didn’t seem entirely mine said, “That’s it, we’re going to build the AIDS Ride.” And the next day my staff and I began trying to figure out how to get 500 people to bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles. It seemed impossible at the time. It hadn’t been done before. But a little over a year later, 478 heroic people of all shapes and sizes, most of whom hadn’t been on a bike in years, finished the 600-mile journey, netting a million dollars for AIDS.

As we rode into West Hollywood together, I couldn’t stop crying.

I would cry at dozens of these kinds of closing ceremonies over the years as tens of thousands of average people completed long journeys after raising large sums of money for urgent causes — both things they never thought they could accomplish when they started.

In a great documentary on the Apollo program, Eugene Kranz, the flight director of all those missions, reminisces about what had been accomplished during that unique period in American history.

He couldn’t stop crying.

I’m typing this week’s post on my new iPad 3G — truly a marvel of imagination, technology, and tenacity. It’s amazing not just because of the technology itself, but because of all the work building partnerships over the years that went into making it what it is — the negotiations with record labels and movie makers that made iTunes possible, enrolling Time magazine and countless others in its promise, and the nurturing of the network of app developers that helped make the thing the mind-boggling device that it is. Now, Steve Jobs was thrown out of the company he created. He has waged a fierce battle for his life against pancreatic cancer. He has stared deeply into the abyss of despair one feels when their dreams have been crushed and seem to be gone forever. I may be wrong, but I have to believe that at some point, using his own iPad and measuring the true distance he had come to make it real, Steve Jobs must have found himself crying.

As a mentor of mine reminds me, human beings are unique in our ability to achieve the impossible. Elephants don’t do it. Gorillas don’t. Mice don’t. We humans live in a world where everything falls but we say, let’s make things fly. The crying that ensues is an outgrowth of self-actualization. It is the profundity of experiencing the full depth of our human potential and it is unspeakably beautiful.

On the AIDS Rides we had a phrase for it: I’mpossible.

In my office, I keep two books out where I can see them: Inferno, James Nachtwey’s horrific and heartbreaking photo documentations on the effects of genocide, AIDS, and starvation on nameless and forgotten human beings all around the world, and Full Moon, a collection of high-resolution Hasselblad images from the Apollo lunar missions.

The Nachtwey book makes me think of eradicating hunger in our lifetime — a task that seems impossible. The NASA book reminds me of one of the most impossible things humanity ever accomplished.

And they both make me cry.

No matter what you are trying to do, whether in business or charity or social enterprise, if the thought of it doesn’t scare the hell out of you — and if imagining the manifestation of it doesn’t make you cry — it isn’t worthy of who you truly are.

Today’s inspirational story is shared from the following website: https://hbr.org/2010/05/when-your-goal-is-the-impossib.html

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You Can Never Cross the Ocean Unless You Have the Courage to Lose Sight of the Shore…

art wood sign on beach

I don’t know about you but personal growth always feels like a remodeling project to me – with too many walls being demolished and the new construction always fraught with delays. Yet, when the work is done, I never fail to look back and feel a heart full of gratitude.

Personal growth is such a blessing! Self improvement always requires a leap of faith and courage. Although we may see massive benefits to changing, where we are is usually where we feel most comfortable. God is our most ardent fan. He is mindful of our capacity and our abilities. No one knows us better – not even ourselves. You only know yourself from a mortal perspective. He knows your mortal history and your pre-mortal history. He knows your magnificence! Best of all, He believes in You!!

Are you feeling a need for some changes? Perhaps God is nudging you! Listen to your heart and allow yourself to really feel deeply what God is trying to speak to your spirit. Then use His guidance to start the step by step process that He will provide. He will help you across your “oceans” and you will never regret the journey.

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A Believing Heart…Believing in God

In matters of religion, a skeptical mind is not a higher manifestation of virtue than is a believing heart

I’m not going to lie. Somehow, I have always known that there is a God and believed in Him and in His ability to help me. I have sensed Him in my heart and I have seen Him all around me: in nature, in loving relationships, in the solutions to life’s problems that seemed to be handed to me. I know that not everyone has that experience.

Though I know that not everyone believes in God or has a believing heart, I also know that virtually everyone born to this world questions at one time or another if there is a God.

I believe that my life is a testimony of his existence. Even if you exclude my near-death experience, there are just too many “directed” events for me to brush a belief in God under the carpet. If I had never had a near-death experience, I have found the “needle in the haystack” far too many times to ever question God’s existence!

In that light, I share today’s story. I love Marilyn’s story. I also love that she trusted her heart and recognized the tangibly intangible moments that she shared with God. I hope you enjoy!:

How an Atheist Found God

A personal account from an atheist who was convinced no god exists, and what facts led to God.

By Marilyn Adamson

Religious people seemed annoyed by my question, “How do you know that God exists?”

Perhaps they wondered about my motives. Or maybe they had no idea how to answer. Most of their responses were, “Well, you just know.”

I wasn’t trying to be difficult. But I certainly did not “just know.” And I was hoping someone did!

After many months of this, I thought, “Here are the people who say they believe in God, but no one knows why!” It was like learning the truth about Santa Claus. It seemed obvious that God was completely fabricated. Maybe some people needed to believe in God but clearly there was no proof. No objective evidence. I came to the most stark conclusion…God did not actually exist.

I held this belief for years, not expecting it to ever change. But then I met someone who caused me to become interested in the possibility of God. She was caring, kind, and very intelligent. It bothered me that someone that intelligent could believe in God.

She talked about God like he was her closest friend. She was convinced he deeply loved her. I knew her life well. Any concern she would take to God, trusting him to work it out or care for her in some way. She would tell me, quite candidly, that she was merely praying that God would act upon her concerns. For over a year, I regularly saw what seemed to be answers to her prayers. I watched her life through a myriad of circumstances, and her faith in God was unwavering.

So, I wanted to believe in God on one hand, because I admired her life and her love for others. But I couldn’t believe in something against my intellect, against my better judgment. God did not exist. A nice idea, but that was all. Wanting something to be true, doesn’t make it true.

During this time I was developing a personally built philosophy.

I tried something that I’m not sure many people do. Every few weeks, I would study a particular philosopher’s take on life …Nietzsche, Hume, Dostoevsky, Sartre, Plato, etc. and then try to apply it to my own life. I was looking for the perfect, workable philosophy for life. I found over and over, that either their philosophies seemed lacking, or were too impractical to implement. But I kept searching.

I was challenging my friend with every question that came to mind about God. I would find myself writing out questions late in the evening. This went on for well over a year. One day she handed me a book1 that briefly answered questions like, is there a God; is Jesus God; what about the Bible. It presented facts. No comments like, “you have to believe.”

I saw some evidence for God that was solidly logical. The parts particularly convincing to me were the chemical properties of water and the earth’s position to the sun. It was all too perfectly designed, too perfectly put together. My faith in “nothing behind it all” seemed weaker than the possibility of God. I had fewer reasons to be certain of nothing, and more reasons to conclude that God might be there.

I then encountered a situation that fully challenged my current philosophy on life. What I had been putting my faith in proved to be completely insufficient. It shocked me to see that I was at a loss for an approach to life that was fully reliable. However, the situation resolved itself and I moved ahead. I have a pretty steady personality. Throughout my life, I never really felt “needy.” No on-going crisis. No big gaps or struggles. And certainly nothing I felt guilty about.

But the concept of God was something I couldn’t get off my mind….was he there? does he exist? maybe there’s a God…..

One night I was talking to my friend again, and she knew I had all the information I needed. She knew that I had run out of questions to ask. Yet I was still trying to debate. In one clear, abrupt moment, my friend turned to me and said, “You know, I can’t make this decision for you, and God’s not going to wait forever.”

And I immediately knew she was right. I was playing around with a very important decision. So I went home and decided that I was going to decide. I was going to either ask God to come into my life, or I was going to end the subject forever and never allow myself to consider the possibility of God again. I was tired of dealing with this decision. I was tired of thinking about it.

So, for the next three or four hours, I reviewed everything I had read and observed. I evaluated it all.

I concluded that the evidence for God was so strong that it made more sense to believe in God than to believe he wasn’t there. Then I had to act on that conclusion.

I knew that just intellectually concluding God existed, was way too light. It would be like deciding…airplanes exist. Faith in an airplane means nothing. However, if you need to get somewhere and an airplane is the way, you have to decide to act and actually get on the plane.

I needed to make the decision to actually talk to God. I needed to ask him to come into my life.

After a few hours of thought I addressed God, “Ok you win. I ask you to come into my life, and you may do with it whatever you’d like.” (It seemed reasonable to me, that since God exists, God had every right to influence and direct my life, if he wanted to.)

I went to bed and the next morning wondered if God was still there. And honestly, I kind of “sensed” that he was. One thing I knew for sure. I immediately had a huge desire to get to know this God whom I now believed in.

I wanted to read the Bible. When I did, it seemed that God was spelling out who he is and how he viewed this relationship with him. It was amazing. What really surprised me is how often he talked about his love. I hadn’t expected that. In my mind, I was simply acknowledging God’s existence. I had no expectations of him, but as I read the Bible, he chose to communicate his love to me. That was a surprise.

Now, my basic, skeptical nature was still there. The first few months or year, I would ask myself, “Am I really believing in God? And, why am I?” And I would methodically review five objective reasons why I believed God existed. So my “faith” in God did not rest on feelings, but on facts, on reasons.

To me, it’s like the foundation of a building. The facts/reasons support my faith. It’s like someone driving across the Golden Gate Bridge. They can feel whatever they’d like about the bridge. But it’s the construction/design/materials of the bridge itself that allows them to safely get from one end to the other. In the same way, the objective reality of God–the logical, historical, scientific reasons to believe in his existence, are important to me. There are people who don’t seem to need that. But I hate being fooled, and I have little regard for wishful thinking. The substantiating reasons for God’s existence mattered to me.

My Experience, Part 2 – Further Evidence of God

Since that time, now that I’ve been a Christian for a number of years—-why do I now believe in God? What reasons do I have for continuing to believe in God?

I’m not sure any of these are going to be believable to you. But I’ll try to put that concern aside and be candid with you. Previously my questions were about God’s existence. After beginning a relationship with God, I saw additional evidence that God is real. Such as…

1. When I have questions, concerns, or would like insight on a matter, God speaks to me through the Bible. What he shows me is always perfectly suited to my question, and a better, more satisfying answer than I expected. Here’s an example.

One day, my schedule, deadlines, and obligations were crawling up my neck and tightening their hold. You know that feeling when you’re so overwhelmed, you don’t know what to do first?

So I got out a piece of paper and pen, and asked God: “Just tell me what you want me to do, and I’ll do it.” I was fully prepared for shouldering 100% responsibility, and was basically asking God to just set the priorities, tell me how to approach it all, and I would.

I then opened my Bible and immediately read where Jesus was talking with a man who was blind. Jesus was asking him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

I read it again. Jesus asked: “What do you want me to do for you?” Rather amazed, I picked up my pen and began writing an entirely different list…to God. This, I have found, is characteristic of God. Reminding us that he is there. That he cares, and he’s capable.

I choose that example because it’s brief. But I could cite hundreds of examples where I was asking God a question and he perfectly, thoroughly answered me. It probably is the characteristic of God that I most appreciate and value–that he is willing to answer my questions.

This isn’t something I learned from other Christians. It’s just how my relationship with God operates. I ask a question, with an attitude that I really want to give him freedom to tell me whatever he wants to….to correct my thinking, to point out an area in my life that isn’t right, to show me where I’m not trusting him, whatever. And he always graciously speaks to me.

2. Similarly, when I need direction for a decision, he gives it. I believe that God cares about our decisions. I believe he has a plan for our lives, that he cares about who I marry, what kind of job I have, and some decisions smaller than that. I don’t believe he cares what toothpaste I buy, or lots of mundane decisions. But decisions that will affect my life or what he wants to accomplish through my life…I think he cares.

When has God given me clear direction?

One time I needed to decide about a trip to the Middle East. There was risk involved, and I was willing to go only if God wanted me to go. It was important to me that I knew what he wanted.

Two different times I asked God about a job. Both times his leading on it was so clear, that anyone watching would have concluded the same. Let me try one thin slice of an example.

During my senior year of college, I had decided to take a job with a Christian organization after graduation, that would require a move to California.

It was Christmas break, and I was now visiting my parents. One evening, I was alone and thinking through a long list of friends. I was wondering who I could talk into moving to California with me to be roommates. One person named Christy, came to mind, who had already graduated and settled in a job in Iowa. I thought she’d be the perfect roommate, but I hadn’t talked to her in several months. Just 30 minutes later, at my parents home, Christy calls me on the phone.

Her first sentence was, “I heard you are taking a job with this Christian organization.” I was floored because I had only told one friend, in Ohio.

Her next statement was, “Ok, I’ve got the pots and pans and dishes.” I said, “WHAT?!” She was moving to the same town in California and was calling to see if I would room with her.

Ok, so you see my point.

You might ask, why such a big deal, to even need God’s help in this decision? I knew that my parents would be completely opposed to this job. I thought it might cost me my relationship with my parents forever. So it was not a light decision. I asked God to guide me toward what he wanted. And he did. There were about ten other events related to this job, just as clear.

Other reasons I still believe in God…

3. In terms of explanations about life–why we’re here, what the purpose is, what is important in life, what to value or strive for–God has better answers than anything I’ve ever read anywhere. I have studied multiple philosophies and religions and other life approaches. What I read in the Bible, what I see from God’s perspective, all the pieces of the puzzle fit.

There is still a lot I’ll read in the Bible and close the Bible saying, “I don’t get it.” So I don’t mean to suggest I fully understand everything in the Bible. Instead, I’m saying that life only makes sense from the perspective of what God has revealed. It’s like reading the operating manual to life on earth, only we are not left to merely follow the manual. The inventor is explaining to us how it all works, and then offers to personally guide us through it, on a daily basis.

4. The intimacy with God is deeper than intimacy with any human being. I say that married, with two children, and tons of very close friends. His love is perfect. He’s incredibly gracious. He takes me right where I’m at, and as I said, speaks to me. He intervenes with actions that leave me amazed as the observer. He is not a belief or doctrine. I see him act in my life.

5. He has done more with my life than I would have done on my own. This is not a statement of inferiority or lack of self confidence. I’m speaking in terms of accomplishments that far exceeded what I ever had in mind. He provides ideas, direction, solutions, wisdom, and better motives than I could aspire to on my own.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.everystudent.com/wires/atheist.html

 

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Your Freedom is the Most Expensive Thing You Have….

your-freedom-is-the-most-expensive-thing-you-have-soldiers-1010631From the time that I first stepped foot on Russian soil – during the Kosovo conflict, I have treasured my freedom and my U.S. citizenship. It was not until that moment that I understood what lack of freedom was or that it was even possible to lose it. The freedoms that this nation enjoys has come at a cost. I hope that each one of us who walks the soil of America as free citizens will cherish the gift that has been given to us by the soldiers of this nation and the inspired United States Constitution. Today, I am including just a brief portion of my book that addresses the trip my husband and I made to Russia to adopt our two youngest children. May freedom be a gift that we all enjoy forever!

From my book:

Greg and I were a little nervous about flying to Russia, but that  nervousness increased dramatically when our plane made its first  landing on Russian soil. Our first landing was made in Khabarovsk,  Russia. We were surprised to see that the airport seemed more like an  abandoned military base. Old weathered airplanes with questionable  functionality dotted the tarmac. Our initial astonishment turned to  tension as armed men in military type uniforms drove up to our  airplane and one of their commanders barked harsh words at the  flight attendants and demanded possession of their passports. Our  first touchdown in Russia made it painfully clear to us that while  on Russian soil, we would not have the same freedoms that we were  accustomed to in the United States.

Our second landing was just outside the city of Vladivostok,  the destination for our adoption. Though friendlier than our initial  landing, going through customs verified our initial impressions that  as foreigners in their country, we were not welcome visitors. 

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The Relationship Between Men and Women…

Woman was made from the rib of a man. Not from his head to top him nor his foot to be stepped on by him, but from his side to be equal to him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be Loved by him Matthew HenryI believe in marriage. I believe in making a lifetime commitment. I also believe that my love and my relationship with my husband can continue for all eternity. I believe that your heart communicates this knowledge to you as well.

There seems to be a lot of effort in today’s world to make men out of women and vice versa. I can’t help but wonder why?

As a witness of the reality of God, I can tell you that in heaven we are not and were not unisex beings. We were male and female just like we are on earth.

Men are not superior. Women are not superior. Men and women are complimentary equals. We each have specific strengths and weaknesses. Every single one of us – regardless of gender is a unique individual.

I love my husband and my sons but I don’t want to be their clone. There have been times, admittedly, that I have wanted their arm strength so that I could have a chance of beating them in arm wrestling but that’s the only “manly” quality I think I have ever wished for.

I love that I an a nurturer. I love that I am a woman. I feel honored that I have been blessed to be a co-creator with God in bringing four wonderful human beings into this world. I love and honor those inherent gifts that my husband has as a man. I am grateful that our relationship is one of give and take – all of it while we walk side by side.

I am grateful to unequivocally know as a result of my near death experience, the divine role that gender is a part of in God’s plan for this world. I am also thankful to know that both men and women should be honored for lives well lived!

I hope you enjoy today’s story!

Faithfulness in Sickness and in Health: One Couple’s Story

by Dr. Ray Pritchard

Her family had come to America from Sweden. She had a typical Scandinavian look… Long blond hair; blue eyes; long slender legs; soft, blemish-free skin. She was gorgeous – she was beautiful. In fact, a professional international photographer in her hometown thought she was so pretty that he used a photograph of her to advertise his business.

But that was not her real beauty.

She was raised by some wonderful Christian parents and had become a Christian at an early age. Integrity, honesty and sweetness were just a few of her characteristics. In fact, at her engagement party, her sister, who knew her better than anyone, said that she had never heard her tell a lie.

All of her friends said the same thing about her: She was the sweetest girl they knew. She would never speak a harsh word about anyone. Everyone loved to be around her.

One week after they graduated from college, they were married. They loved each other’s company. They would walk together, exercise together, go on bike rides together, chaperone youth trips together – go to movies, watch TV, eat pizza, travel – all the things any normal couple would love to do together. They were so much in love.

She taught school for a year and then became a bookkeeper for a surgical supply company. One day, while she was working, for no apparent reason, she lost her balance and fell on the floor. She was later able to get up and went to see a doctor that night. He set her up to see a Neurologist.

The following day, it happened again. For no apparent reason, she lost her balance and fell. This time, though, she couldn’t get up. She had lost all feeling in her legs. They wouldn’t move. Her husband, had to come to the office and pick her up in his arms and carry her to the hospital. After six days in the hospital, the doctor gave this beautiful, active young lady the dreadful news. She had Multiple Sclerosis and she would continue to deteriorate.

This young couple, who had now been married only 18 months – who loved to go everywhere together and do everything together – would now face some new challenges. All their future plans would change, everyday life would change.

They would change.

For the next 30 years, this young lady did deteriorate. She had to take steroids (not the kind athletes use, but anti-inflammatory steroids). Her bones became brittle, breaking easily. Her face became puffy and bloated and she could not even put on make-up. Her body was a mess. She went from a walker, to an electric scooter, to a wheelchair. She could no longer feed herself, write her name, or control her own bodily functions. She now had to have someone stay with her 24 hours a day.

If that couple had not had the kind of committed love that’s based first on a personal relationship and a commitment to Jesus Christ and second, on a love that’s based on a commitment to each other, the marriage never would have lasted. In fact, a large percentage of the marriages where a spouse has MS, the other spouse leaves them. The other spouse won’t stay committed to the constant care and the continual physical, psychological and mental changes that continue to occur.

Please hear me carefully – those two people are not heroes. They are not super-saints or super-Christians. They will be the first to tell you that they are not super Christians. Those two people are normal, ordinary people, empowered by the Love of God and a love for each other, to do what the world considers beyond normal and extraordinary.

I know this for a fact – because that woman, that beautiful young lady who will never walk again, who can’t even feed herself, is Lynda Langerfeld – my wife. She’s not a hero. I’m not a hero. We’re children of God, doing what the children of God are supposed to do. Doing what His children are called to do. Doing what God expects of every man and every woman who make a vow before God on their wedding day.

Quite often, Hollywood will portray a “hero” sacrificing his life for his “heroine” in a film. In the world’s eyes, he’s a hero. In God’s eyes, he’s an ordinary man making an extraordinary sacrifice that every Christian who’s committed to his spouse ought to make. Sacrificial, Committed Love is the rule, not the exception. We’re not super-saints, we’re not heroes when we’re being faithful and committed to our mates. We’re doing what God has called every husband and wife to do since the beginning of time.

Story is shared from the following website: http://www.crosswalk.com/family/marriage/faithfulness-in-sickness-and-in-health-one-couples-story-11529898.html

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