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How true love can completely turn your life around



How true love can completely turn your life around

When I was a child I was terrified by my grandmother.  She always seemed angry.  But angry is an understatement.  She seemed to be able to find any flaw in you that you didn’t want anybody to see and poke at it repeatedly.  There is no doubt that she had become bitter.  She had worked since she was young and even owned her own beauty salon for a season.  But love had not worked out for her.  At the time I did not understand that she was just completing a divorce from her third husband.

How true love can change your life

None of the men had treated her right and she was fuming over that.  In some ways she was like a wounded animal that will fight anyone even if they are trying to help them.  On one occasion I was in the car and my mom decided that we should stop in to see her.  I was trapped and could not figure out how in the world I could get out of this predicament.  In my nine year old head I felt like I was being taken to be sacrificed to some monster that was ready to devour all children.

When we pulled into grandma’s driveway my mom got out and walked to the house expecting me to go with her.  I refused.  Sitting there I didn’t know what to do.  I could stay in the car and maybe get some sort of punishment later or I could go in and be eaten.  I chose to sit.


This visit turned out to go long and soon I knew that I would be dragged in if I stayed that close to the front door.  My brilliant mind conceived a daring plan.  Slowly, I would open up the door and slide out, closing the door as quietly as I could.  From there I would stay as unseen as I could and listen to see if anyone would notice that I had gotten out of the car.  When I knew that it was safe I would run as fast as I could back to my house and await the consequences.  I pulled it off too.

Getting home the one flaw in my plan was that the house was locked and I was too young to have my own key.  No matter, I waited things out on our jungle gym in the backyard.  Worst than any punishment, my mom sent my beloved Aunt Lisa to me.  She listened to my imagined horror story.  In hind sight she most likely needed to hold back laughter.  But she listened carefully to my fears.  Then she asked me if I loved my grandma.

Even though things had recently been tough, she had picked me up from school over the years and helped me in multiple ways to find purpose and fun in my life.  She loved to laugh and maybe I missed that a bit.  Suddenly I began to feel guilty and ashamed of my fear.  My aunt drove me back to grandma’s house and took me inside.  My aunt had reminded me of love and that had changed that situation and a relationship that was doomed without love to intervene.


Love is the most powerful force in the universe and when used in truth and integrity it can change your life and of those that are coming after us in the next generation.  Here is how.


Love gives you joy

It was only about three years later when my grandma met an incredible man that loved her deeply. They had been high school sweethearts but had grown apart.  This man knew how to treat her, after just a few dates she was a new woman.  Suddenly she wanted to make pies and go out with all of us on grand adventures.  She told stories that were fun and exciting.  When they got married the whole family rejoiced.  As of the writing of this blog they have been married for over thirty years.  How is it possible that any relationship can get to thirty years when it is a fourth marriage?  That is amazing.  Even more amazing is the change in my grandma.  She has become generous and fun and shares with all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren extravagantly.  Love has changed her entire world.  She used to live in a small dumpy house.  Today she lives in a nice house in a good neighborhood.  Back in the days before her marriage she hated to drive but when she did she drove a car that was always on its last legs.  Today she enjoys the freedom her minivan gives her. Love gave her joy.


Love gives you significance

One of our primary needs is a need for significance.  A person who has had multiple last names struggles with their identity.  In those dark days she did not even know who she was.  She would often question herself wondering what was wrong with her that she would keep finding men that would treat her so poorly. When love came into her life though, she received a name.  This name was new and fresh for her.  It gave her a fresh start and a new lease on life.  Miraculously, she changed seemingly overnight into the grandma that I had always wanted.  No longer was she a subject of fear.  Her new husband taught her how to laugh at every little piece of gossip or negativity in the world.  He taught her how to think for herself and how to live a solid life.  Love gave her significance.


Love makes you get out of your own mind

In the dark days of her anguish my grandma spent her days working with a whole host of negative people.  When work was over she would go home where she would either see my uncle who was always in trouble of some kind or she would be alone.  That environment makes it tough to get out of your own negative spin.  Gossip around the family, memories of failure all swim around inside of your head.  When she got married suddenly love gave her and excuses exploring the more positive side of life.  It started with one positive thought.  Something as simple as, “He loves me and treats me well,” were enough to catapult her toward growing successful thinking.  Her little house began to get clean, her cooking became great and she began pointing out the positive things that she saw in all of us.  Love helped her get out of her own mind.


Love teaches you to be selfless

Early in their marriage somebody threw a bag of cats onto her porch.  It was just a few.  But they captured her heart.  Soon she was the neighborhood cat lady and gathered over seventeen cats. She knew the names and personalities of every one of those cats. Without much thought she could tell you which ones like what food and how they came to be living in her home.  Amazingly this once lonely woman now shared her love with anyone and every creature. Eventually she added birds and fish to the mix and worked diligently to teach them to love one another.  Love taught her to be selfless.


Love has the ultimate power to change us.  Movies portray this in wild and diverse ways.  Real life even more so inspires us to chase after wild dreams where love is giving us joy, significance, freedom and connection.  He who finds love finds a good thing.



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Can You Receive A Compliment Without It Getting To Your Head?



a compliment (1)

Receiving compliments gracefully isn’t as easy as it should be for some people. How about you: are YOU ready for someone to give you a pat on the back? To be pushed to doing more? To have someone give you a supporting hand? To be picked up when you fall down?

Sure, we may think that’s what we want. But is it what we need to develop, to grow, and to get better?

If someone complimented you on every little improvement you made while learning a new skill, would you not start to feel a bit marginalized? That perhaps they didn’t really think you could do it? What about when you do something that seems pretty easy and everyone made it into a big deal?


Receiving Compliments When You Are Not Ready For It

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

Developing new skills is never free of trouble. We all know the level of foundation that must be built to get from being a novice, before reaching greatness. In the learning process, we all know when we are in that frustrating stage of not being quite as good – but we know what we have to do to get there.

It’s in these moments that receiving compliments on your every action could minimize your efforts. That’s because if they truly knew you, people would be holding out for when you make that big, defining leap. 

As we overcome hurdles in our learning and development, friends, family members, and colleagues will know when the time is right to provide encouragement. They know that when that moment comes, those words will have the right amount of impact on you.

Think back to when you were growing up, playing some elaborate game. Perhaps you spent hours creating this game: building a fort, putting together things that the rest of your characters in the play could use. You pushed through despite the trials and problems.

It would have served absolutely no purpose for someone to congratulate you on every step (and misstep) along the way.  You would have lost your flow as you worked through the problem, constantly being interrupted – all while you were still trying to figure it out and understand where you needed to go.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments


When Receiving Compliments Makes You Content with Present Achievements

You might never have finished if someone patted you on the back early in that moment, content in the knowledge that you “thought up” the idea and that was enough. If everyone was saying you did great simply for thinking up something new, would it have compelled you to stop?

Maybe. Perhaps you would have stopped with that compliment.

As a parent, you learn when to encourage your children. Usually, it’s not when they show up, and not when they do what kids around them are able to do as well. It’s when they push themselves to do more. When they pick themselves up and still lose, when they try something new for the first time, fall over and fail, not sure if they should do it again.

Those are the moments when kids should be receiving compliments – NOT when they have done the same thing over and over again, or when they didn’t try their best but won anyways.

Kids know this. They can feel it when people give false compliments or encouragement because they did something they’ve always done. But when it is something meaningful, something they have worked hard for, they know the encouragement will be there to help them.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

The reason you might not be receiving compliments or encouragement when you want to is because you haven’t earned them or don’t deserve them yet.

Maybe your coaches, leaders, parents, or other people who support you know you are not ready for it. Perhaps they need to see you making that next big leap in your growth and development.

Those compliments might not come today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. But look at those around you – the great people you have chosen to surround yourself with – and you’ll see that they are waiting to give you that push. They are waiting for you to make it happen.

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3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart




when your dreams are falling apart (1)

I truly believe that dreams must extend beyond wishes of self-improvement; that its goal should be to contribute to the world around you.

The heart is a fickle thing. Imagine how many amazing things wouldn’t have been accomplished if great minds simply stopped when they “didn’t feel like it”.

It’s human nature. I’m sure that during the course of over 300 bank rejections, Walt Disney had days when he felt like giving up. But he didn’t. He kept going. Why? It was because his dream went far beyond himself.

Here’s how YOU can keep going – even if it feels like your dreams are falling apart.


3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

1.) Remember The “Why”

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

Often times, I find that dreams extend far beyond the simple purpose of making one happy. For example, being a songwriter in and of itself does not make me feel happy and fulfilled. Imagine if my life’s work was to write songs that no one would ever hear. That doesn’t elicit any feelings of happiness or fulfillment (at least to me).

Seeing and hearing the healing effects that come from the songs I create for others to hear? Now you’re talking. Healing and helping others is the part of my dream that keeps it alive. It gives me purpose in this world that goes far beyond myself and my skills.

I’m reminded of the character Ebenezer Scrooge from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Scrooge’s goal in life was to have money – and lots of it. He set aside love and relationships for that dream. The result of this life goal was a lonely, cold, bitter old man.

I won’t ruin the whole story for the very few of you that may not have heard it. In the end, Scrooge discovered that what brought him fulfillment and happiness were community and generosity.

So what is the “why” to your dream? How is your dream going to affect those around you? Get beyond yourself. As many have said, YOU are your biggest obstacle to success.


2.) Take Off The Rose-Colored Glasses

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

You know what I’m talking about. The “I’m going to make it big” and “I’m going to famous/rich/etc.” I hate to take a pointy realistic needle to your big ideas, but I’m doing it out of love. Here it is:

Your dream isn’t going to look exactly how you pictured it.

Take a minute to take that one in. Still here? Yes. Alive? Yes. Not Bleeding? No? Hurt a bit?

It’s OK. I know. I’ve been there. Dreams are vulnerable. We spend countless hours imagining what it would be like and how we will get there. But the truth is, in my experience, they have never turned out exactly how I have imagined. Why? We live in a world of people and circumstances that we can’t control.

Here is where the “why” comes in. The beautiful thing is that your works are a direct result of your heart’s intention…and what you put out into the world never comes back void. Here’s an example:

As a singer-songwriter, the common idea of making it big for my line of work is to have a hit song or perform in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden (I’m more inclined towards Red Rock Amphitheatre, but you get the picture).

Let’s say that I work and strive tirelessly to do everything I need to do to reach that goal. I release a song, I tour around the US, develop a large following, get on the radio, etc. Along the way, I hear stories of how this song has impacted the people who have heard it. Stories describing how it brought healing, encouragement, and hope.

To go further, what if I never even make it that far? What if circumstances happen and I can’t tour? What if everything “falls apart”? What if I end up playing at open mics for the rest of my life? What if it doesn’t happen in the next year? Two years?

Does that change the fact that my song helped heal and open the heart of a broken and depressed Vietnam Vet? Or how it helped encourage an author to keep going and writing? Or how my song started a conversation on how to look past the labels overshadowing soldiers and their families?

It’s all about your perspective of success, my friend. To me, because my “why” and my heart’s intention are to help people, those stories above are my version of success. It’s what keeps me going. If I get to Madison Square Garden (or Red Rocks), well that’s just icing on top of the cake.

Keep going on your dream. Make a plan, and in the words of .38 Special, “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go.” Roll with the punches and understand that even greater things can come when things don’t go according to your plan.


3.) Make Your Dream Your Job

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

No, I don’t mean quit your job and have no income while you work on your dream. That’s an entirely different article (and completely up to you). I’m talking about treating your dream like it is your job.

For example, if you completely failed at a presentation at work, would you just quit and not go the next day? No! You have a livelihood and an expectation to show up. So why quit on your dream at the first sign of failure?

Treat your dream like your job. Make a plan, show up every day, and understand that it may take a while to see any results. I know many songwriters who wrote hundreds of songs before they wrote a hit. However, they never would have reached it if they didn’t take that first step, made a commitment, and wrote 100 songs first.

Dreams don’t just happen. They take work. So go get started!

My best advice under this theme is check out the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. It is by far the best resource I have discovered in my journey of living out my dream.

Here’s the deal. With every goal that I have set and achieved, I never sat at the end and thought to myself, “man, look at what I did”. Believe it or not, I was more overwhelmed with the thoughts of the journey that I had to take to get there – the good and the bad.

I would admire and laugh at the unexpected things that came. I would smile and enjoy the character it built, the person that I became in the process. In the end, the best thing about dreams and goals isn’t their achievement, but the journey that you take to get there.

Never forget that the dream in your heart was put there for a reason. You were made to make an impact on this world.

Enjoy the journey and never, ever give up. Keep going.

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