Highlighted Hero – Helen Keller

Question of the week – Who is your Hero and why?

Thank you for sharing your heroes with me on Facebook, Twitter and here on this site.  A hero by my definition is anyone who does the extraordinary for another or the greater good – we all have the capacity to be heroes in someone else’s life.  As promised I did select one extraordinary hero from your submissions – Helen Keller.  Thank you @irrationalliving for your comment:

“Definitely Helen Keller. The reason is because, before she existed, what she did would have been considered impossible. And then she was born blind and deaf, into a family that didn’t know how to help her…and she became a famous inspirational author and speaker. I think anyone who does the impossible progresses the human race because the only limits we have are the ones we impose on ourselves. Now no one can say what she did is impossible for someone else to do, because she has already done it. She is absolutely my hero.”

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When I think about Helen Keller and what she was able to accomplish it seems impossible.  She is exceptional and known worldwide because of her ability to push far beyond the “apparent boundaries” set before her.  This information is commonly known.  What stood out to me was the possibility as to why she was able: it was her disability that gave her the ability to supersede all expectations for her life.  Think about it — what often stops us from achieving our dreams?  We conceive a thought, it sounds wonderful, it looks amazing but often once we start moving in that direction we are faced with opposition.  Opposition that we must push through in order to make our dreams come to life.  I propose that what Helen was lacking was the very thing that kept her focused.  She didn’t have access to the wealth of opposition!  She couldn’t hear the voice of distraction, she couldn’t hear people tell her no.  She couldn’t reflect upon the looks of disappointment, disdain or discouragement.  She didn’t know people didn’t believe in her.  What she did have was her innate desire, her passion, her drive and her determination…and ultimately her success.  What are you going to push away to achieve greatness?  Stay focused and you will give your autobiographers something to write about!

Don’t compare yourself to the devil to make yourself look good!

Before I dive into unpacking this phrase with you guys, I am inclined to remind you that you are about to get the “Unplugged Joycy” – direct, unfiltered and to the point.  For those that know me in person, this would consist of a calm, eyes-locked-in, admittedly intense demeanor as I deliver this phrase, “Do not compare yourself to the devil to make yourself look good!”  I’m getting fired up even writing this!

What do I mean?  I find that we can easily short change ourselves by comparing ourselves to mediocrity in order to boost our self-image.  We don’t ever hear the phrase, “Aim low!” So why would we entertain a thought that allows us to compare ourselves with mediocrity to make ourselves feel good.  Be honest!  Assess yourself!  Identify your strengths and your weaknesses.  Set your goals, make a plan, give yourself grace when you mess up, but KEEP MOVING!  Be the best you that you can be and you will be surprised at what you can achieve.  You know your gifts, you know your talents, you know what you are naturally drawn to — develop those and see where that leads.  Do not fear the unknown.  Today was unknown until you got here and you survived it!

Often times when we are fearful of stepping into the places where opportunity has been created.  We create excuses to rationalize and justify our stagnancy.  BUT please know you are only holding yourself back from the best of wherever and whatever God has for  you…i.e…if God has called you to the mountaintop, do not make your tent by the hillside and call it cozy.

I am speaking from experience on this and likely why I am so passionate to motivate you all.  If this describes you, know that I have been where you are and I challenge you to join me on the other side.  You can be fearful as long as you move through your fear and press on – your best life is yet to come.  Go seize it! Start by taking one courageous step at a time :).

Who is your hero and why?

10858522_10204965536612048_6909761851437394513_nMy obvious earthly hero would be my mother, Saintalia Lozama.  Today she is 70+ years young!  She is a pioneer, becoming the first person -not just woman- in her small town in Haiti to learn to ride a motorcycle.  She was a teacher, a missionary, directed plays, had her own radio show (whose influence remains today), a nurse.  I could cite any or all of these reasons as to why she would be my hero – but it is her faith and resilience that makes her my number one.  I love you and cherish the legacy of faith and perseverance you have left for us.  Thank you!! Happy Birthday!!

Please leave your comment below or join us on social media @joycyaunplugged on twitter or Joycy Ann Unplugged on Facebook.  One special hero will be chosen from the comments submitted and highlighted here on this blog.  I look forward to hearing about your hero!

God Be Praised – Church by the Glades Worship

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A copy cannot produce the original

In having a conversation with a friend recently this phrase found its way out of my mouth: A copy cannot produce the original.  This is true, we cannot fashion ourselves off of any other person and produce anything greater than the original.  What we need to do is improve on who we are as individuals, looking to the only person we should imitate —Christ.  Even in that He created us unique — with unique gifts and purposes, ultimately for His purposes.

My pastor David Hughes said it succinctly this weekend, “You are an innovation not an imitation.”  I don’t think it’s wishful thinking to think that if we all spent more time dialing in on our identity, celebrating our uniqueness and less time playing the comparison game we would progress as a people.   What are some of your gifts and talents?   When did you first discover them and how?  Although I always recognized a uniqueness in myself, my confidence to display and develop my gifts came through the support and encouragement of good friends and family.  People that saw something in me and were not threatened by it, but instead celebrated and encouraged me and for that I am eternally grateful.  Who are your cheerleaders in life? More importantly, who are you a cheerleader and encourager for?  If you find that vicious jealousy bug popping up when you witness the success of others, chances are that you are not upset at the success in their life, but disappointed in some area of your own.  Yikes! Did that strike a chord?? Good!  If you’re reading this, you are still living and breathing and that is great news!  You have the basic criteria to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.  Start today, spend time journaling, dreaming, talking to people who know you well and step deeper into those areas you know you are gifted in and see where that leads.   Your life is truly what you make it – live well.

I Will Fight – Steven Furtick

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Pushing Through

I heavily contemplated rethinking this decision the moment I walked outside …27degrees?!?  I was visiting my sister up near the Cape in Massachusetts during winter, it wasn’t snowing but it was Christmastime and I was on vacation.  The equation looked like this: extra sugar, extra snacks →extra exercise??  Well, I settled for at least some exercise.  Being from South Florida, I either forgot how cold it was or was suddenly delusional, because the bright idea for a quick run seemed foolish the minute I stepped into that cold brisk air.   I hesitated in the driveway as I considered returning to the warmth I had apparently grown accustomed to inside.  A solid minute passed, which only made me feel cooler as I stood still in my thoughts as the chilly wind continued to threaten my outdoor plans.  And then I pushed through – I told myself if I don’t try I definitely won’t do this.  So I did.  I tried.  And off I went, and as I began to warm up and eventually settle into my pace the chill of the air became a comfort as the heat from my run came over me.  What was once a deterrent in the same environment, under different circumstances, was now a resource.   Trekking the elevated terrain of the neighborhood didn’t make for my “best” run, but it certainly made for one of my most memorable runs.  I’m glad I pushed through.  What are you going to PUSH THROUGH in 2015??”