Posts Tagged ‘courage’

The Strength Will be Given to You

August 15, 2014

We are surrounded by heroes, the vast majority of which never find themselves in a situation requiring them to express their heroic nature. And yet, many of us—perhaps even most of us—would rise to the occasion when the moment requires it. One such hero, Edson Bourn of Jacksonville, Florida, was pushed to the limit and beyond in this intense, pulse-pounding story, which appeared in the August 2014 issue of Guideposts. It’s a powerful reminder that we are all capable of much more than we think we are, and that when we think we have exhausted our resources of courage and strength, they will be replenished if our intentions are pure and our faith intact.

Walking down the beach that day, he was so wrapped up in his own problems he almost didn’t hear the girls screaming

hand-reaching-up-ocean-waterShrieks of joy, the sounds of happy children, reverberated across Rhode Island’s Napatree Beach. Two little girls playing in the sand. But I was barely aware of any of it. I plodded along, oblivious of the crashing waves at high tide. Late afternoon.

I ran my fingers through my wind-tangled hair, as if to clear my head. I’d come to this isolated spit of land on my sailboat, a place to escape. My wife and I had recently separated, our marriage in shambles. I worried about the toll on our boys, just six and eight.

It seemed like forever since I’d heard them laugh. But I didn’t know what to do to make things better.

“Help! Help!”

The girls. I’d meant to tell them to stay away from the water. The currents could be dangerous. Now one of them was in the ocean. Beyond the surf line. I could just hear her screams over the waves. The undertow.Any second now she’d be swept away.

I ran across the hard-packed sand as fast as I could. The other girl was at the edge of the surf, maybe 20 yards away, yelling, all the while wading deeper into the water herself.

“Wait! Stop! Don’t go any farther!” I charged into the waves and was reaching for her when a wall of water overwhelmed us. I clawed to the surface and for half a second I saw her disappear under another big breaker. I dove to the spot. I’m a strong swimmer, but I could feel the current pulling me hard.

Where is she? Splashing. A gasp for air. There. I grabbed (more…)

This Is What Beauty and Courage Look Like

April 14, 2014
Cancer patients Rylie, Rheann and Ainsley (photo by Lora Scantling)

Cancer patients Rylie, Rheann and Ainsley (photo by Lora Scantling)

This stunning photograph shows three-year-old Rylie, six-year-old Rheann and four-year-old Ainsley sharing a special moment. Incredibly, the three girls hadn’t met each other before the photo shoot.

Photographer Lora Scantling conceived the photo shoot to raise awareness about the struggle faced by children who are diagnosed with cancer. “I just wanted something that showed the strength and the bond and that they weren’t alone,” she told Oklahoma City’s KOCO News. Watch KOCO’s video report here.

As for the girls, Rheann is stricken with brain cancer, Rylie is (more…)

Maysoon Zayid Rocks the House!

April 6, 2014

Maysoon Zayid

Maysoon Zayid

This Ted Talk by Maysoon Zayid, a Palestinian stand-up comedian and actress from New Jersey, unexpectedly moved me to tears. Why unexpectedly? Because Maysoon, a cofounder of the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival, stated right up front that her talk wasn’t going to be inspiring.

Yeah, right. Not only is her indomitable spirit in dealing with her (more…)

The Courage of Dr. Robert Fisch

January 2, 2014

Dr. Robert O. Fisch

Dr. Robert O. Fisch

I was privileged to interview Dr. Robert Fisch about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. Click here to read his incredible story.

After World War II ended, and after he escaped communist Hungary in 1956, Dr. Fisch consciously chose to live with love and joy as his dearest friends instead of succumbing to hate and bitterness.

Dr. Fisch’s positive approach to life is reflected in his astonishing bravery. Here is an excerpt from his remarkable book, Fisch Stories: Reflections on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

In my first years of medical school at the University of Budapest, the different political parties pressured students to join. I established the Fisch Party and edited the Fisch Journal, both designed to ridicule the Communists. One spring, at a May Day demonstration, the Communists produced a poster with a cartoon of President Truman with a snake around his neck. When they asked me to carry it, I refused.

“His soldiers liberated me,” I told them. They put the poster on (more…)

Shanna Decker: Lose a Leg, Learn to Love

June 21, 2013

I wrote this profile of childhood cancer survivor Shanna Decker for what is now Caregiving in America magazine.Today, Shanna views her cancer and the resulting loss of a leg as a great gift. She is a remarkable young woman.



Shanna Decker

For one week, Shanna Decker hid under the covers and cried, not wanting to talk to anyone, not even her parents. If you were seven years old, just found out you had malignant bone cancer and were about to lose all your hair to chemotherapy, you’d probably hide under the covers and cry, too.

And yet, after just one week, a week that Shanna said her mother spent not eating or sleeping, the entire Decker family—father Jack, mother Sherrie and 13-year-old sister Melissa—found the peace and strength they needed. “We talked about it as a family and we understood that we were not in control, that this was happening for a reason,” Shanna remembers. “We said, ‘Okay, Lord, take us where you need to take us.’”

That act of surrender changed everything. “We decided that we were going to (more…)

Matthew Sanford: Heals on Wheels

June 12, 2013

I wrote this profile of yoga teacher, author, advocate and all-around amazing human being Matthew Sanford in 2009 for what is now Caregiving in America magazine. Matthew’s profoundly inspiring story is a must-read for anyone who has faced or is facing significant obstacles in life. In other words, it’s for everyone.


Matthew Sanford

Matthew Sanford

Matthew Sanford is an unstoppable force of nature, teaching, preaching, and reaching out to caregivers everywhere, urging them to wake up to the transformative power of the mind-body connection. “I’m working for a healthcare system, a rehabilitation process, where patients leave more connected with their body rather than less,” says Matthew, who lives in Orono with his wife and eight-year-old son.

Matthew is the author of Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, which recounts his recovery from a devastating car crash and his path back to wholeness through the practice of yoga. He now teaches weekly yoga classes at Mind Body Solutions Yoga, the Minnetonka studio operated by Mind Body Solutions, the 501(c)(3) charitable organization he founded in 2001. “Our mission,” he says, “is to transform trauma, loss and disability into hope and potential by awakening the connection between mind and body.”

Matthew’s passion for helping others was fueled by (more…)

Jon Morrow: And So I Fight

May 28, 2013


Jon Morrow

In a previous post, Jon Morrow, Associate Editor of Copyblogger, shared his passion for life and his joy at doing work that makes a difference in people’s lives. Jon’s zest for living is all the more remarkable considering that he has a fatal disease and can’t move from the neck down. Here is another of his well-written, moving posts about how he came to be the amazing human being he is today.

On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas

????The doctor cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, but I have bad news.”

He paused, looking down at the floor. He looked back up at her. He started to say something and then stopped, looking back down at the floor.

That’s when Pat began to cry.

She’d argued with herself about even coming to the doctor’s office. Her baby was a year old, and he hadn’t started crawling yet. He tried, yes, dragging his legs behind him as he struggled to make it just a few feet on the floor, but it didn’t look right. Everyone told her that she was worrying over nothing, and maybe she was, but she told herself that she would take him to the doctor, just to be safe . . .

“Your son has a neuromuscular (more…)

Michiko and Kimiko: A Love Story

February 17, 2013

Not long ago, I was reading a free weekly newspaper at Swami’s Cafe in Encinitas, California, when a photo jumped off the page and into my heart. The photo, which is at once both beautiful and heartbreaking, showed Michiko Lindsey cradling her cancer-stricken child, Kimiko. The accompanying story told of Kimiko’s battle with cancer and of Michiko’s battle to stay sane and strong in the midst of her fear and grief. Deeply touched by what I read, I contacted Michiko and asked her to tell me her story from the beginning. So here, in Michiko’s own words, interspersed with actual journal entries from her CaringBridge journal, is her love letter to her precious daughter.


Michiko Lindsey and Kimiko Lindsey-Schroder


I named my daughter Kimiko because in Japanese, “ki” means precious, “mi” means beautiful, and “ko” means child. She may be only one-quarter Japanese but she is a full-blooded precious, beautiful child. I’ve loved her ever since I first dreamed of her when I was fifteen years old, twenty-five years before she was born.

Kimi’s nurse practitioner had pronounced her perfectly healthy at her annual physical on July 29, 2010, a week after her fourth birthday. Six weeks later, on September 10, her daycare provider called me to say that Kimi was crying because her back hurt. I picked her up and took her to Urgent Care, where I was told that she probably had caught a flu bug. Since we were leaving for Japan later that month, I made an appointment with her pediatrician for September 17, just to make sure. On the 15th, I was thrilled when Kimi called from her dad’s to say that her back pain was gone. But later that day, after going to the movies with her Aunt Dee and Uncle Chris, her leg hurt so much that she couldn’t walk. When Chris called me, I said, “I’ll meet you at Urgent Care.”

Thank God that Chris had e-mailed me the night before. After doing some online research and talking to a doctor friend of his, he had recommended that I ask her pediatrician for a CBC (complete blood count) and MRI. He may have saved Kimi’s life because if (more…)

When the Sun Rises

January 4, 2013

This blog only features positive, uplifting and inspiring content. So why am I posting a three-minute life insurance commercial from Thailand?

Because it’s a powerful reminder that every human life has value. Those who are unfortunate enough to be born into abusive families or born with physical challenges are often forced by (more…)

Christopher Maloney—No More Torn-Up Envelopes

September 8, 2012

Christopher Maloney

When Christopher Maloney walked onto Britain’s X Factor stage on September 8, 2012, he was a nervous wreck. His hands were shaking so much he couldn’t hold the microphone still. Earlier, while standing in line outside, he had said, “It took me five years to actually build up the courage to apply. I’d download the application form, fill it out, put it in an envelope, but rip it up every year.” Fortunately, he found the courage to mail that envelope in this year because when he started singing The Rose, the song that was played at his dad’s funeral, he moved the audience to tears.

I like Christopher’s audition and his story because God only knows how many talented people are out there, hiding in the (more…)

One-Handed Piano Player Makes History

August 29, 2012


Nicholas McCarthy

If you were born without a right hand, chances are that your wish list would not include becoming a concert pianist. Nicholas McCarthy had other ideas. Here is Nicholas’ story, as told by Donna Bowater for The Telegraph.


Nicholas McCarthy, 23, was told as a teenager that he was wasting everyone’s time by trying to learn the instrument with only one hand.

But he has now become the first one-handed pianist to complete his studies at the Royal College in its 130-year history.

The musician has also joined Britain’s first disabled orchestra, the Paraorchestra, which played to Paralympic athletes to welcome them to London.

Mr McCarthy, from Tadworth in Surrey, achieved his ambition by playing music written specifically for the left hand, including works by the Austrian composer Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm in the First World War.

Ravel, Prokofiev and Bartok are among the composers who have written pieces for just the left hand.

Mr McCarthy said being told by a head teacher that he would always be held back was “soul crushing” but made him more determined to succeed.

He was left to teach himself to play on an electric keyboard from Argos when he was a child, and only started piano lessons aged 14.

“There are people in my position having counselling, and I just think: ‘Please get over it and make something of yourself.’ You can turn it into an advantage,” he said.

He said of his Royal College achievement “I don’t go around thinking of these milestones, but when my teacher rang me up and said ‘you’ve made history’, that felt good.

As a teenager seeking his first place at a school for young pianists, he was refused an audition and told he would never succeed.

“It was soul crushing because that’s all I wanted to do – I could feel it would be an uphill struggle, but it made me more determined, I’m quite a stubborn character” he said.

He taught himself to play an electric keyboard from Argos as a young boy, but did not start piano lessons until he was 14.

He had planned to become a chef but changed his career path the moment a friend played him a piano sonata by Beethoven, which “dumbfounded” him.

He said “I just fell in love with it and decided that was what I wanted to do. I started playing around with the piano and found it came very naturally.”

At the age of 17 he secured a place at the junior department of London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, winning the annual piano prize.

He then went on to the prestigious Royal College of Music in London, and has just graduated.

The college’s head of keyboard, Prof Vanessa Latarche, said her pupil had been “incredibly enterprising” in overcoming some big challenges such as developing the stamina to present a 50-minute recital with one arm.

“He has been a great inspiration to many of his fellow students in showing what it is possible to achieve with a disability” she said.

Nicholas said “When I first joined the orchestra, a couple of the musicians who are partially sighted and blind didn’t believe I was playing with one hand, that was a big compliment to me.

“The music is all written for the left hand alone, I’m not changing anything, I’m playing the music as it was written. It’s written very cleverly, but you’ve got to be very quick and good with the pedalling to sustain the bass notes while playing the top notes.”

Nicholas said he thought a lot of people came to see him perform “for curiosity and think ‘How is this possible?'”

Next week (August 2012) he will perform in Malta at the offices of the country’s prime minister and in September he will headline his first evening concert at Fairfield Halls in Croydon.

Click here to view all my posts featuring people who have triumphed over physical challenges.


Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier

To order your copy of Through God’s Eyes, go to OR order from Amazon at OR for an inscribed copy, click here to e-mail Phil for information.

Click here for more information about Through God’s Eyes.
Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Through God’s Eyes won first place in the “Spirituality and Inspirational” category at the San Diego Book Awards on June 22, 2013.

Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.

Want to learn more about Through God’s Eyes? Here is a free 40-page PDF sampler from the book that includes:

• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders

Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!


Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents on Amazon.

Order it at

In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?

Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.

Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.

SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

Here is a three-minute video that introduces you to Phil and his book. Click here to order Sixty Seconds. Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.

Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.

A Wonderful Year

November 29, 2011

One year ago today I moved to Encinitas, California from Minnesota. Best move I ever made. After living here a year (except for a three-month visit back to Minnesota in the summer), I can’t even bear to think what my life would have been like had I stayed in Minnesota. I can’t imagine not knowing all the great people I now know. I can’t imagine never having had all the life-affirming experiences I’ve had since I’ve been here. And it’s all because I (more…)

The Courage of Scott James

November 10, 2011

What a joy it is to watch somebody rise up and strain against the bonds of their paralyzing fears and physical limitations, as if to say, No longer will you control my life! I must be free . . . I will be free!

In September 2009, twenty-one-year-old Scott James, who was diagnosed with (more…)

Going Halfway Into the Darkened Forest

September 3, 2011

Shrink away from fear and it becomes your master. Beating your chest, gnashing your teeth, and howling at the injustice of it all only exacerbates your plight.

Wisdom never kicks at the iron walls it can’t bring down.
Olive Schreiner

Even worse, your resistance sweeps your (more…)

The Ghosts of Difficulties Past

September 2, 2011

Fear relaxes its hold on you when, in the midst of crisis, you can look beyond the pain of the moment and think, There is value in this.

Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Summon the courage to look squarely at the challenge in front of you, lest (more…)

Ice Flowers on the Window Panes

August 27, 2011

Adversity compels you to dig deep within until you tap into the bottomless well of courage and fortitude that is your Divine birthright.

You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.
Mary Tyler Moore

In the worst of times, you may (more…)