Daily Short-hOPT: Smiling Through Adversity

This past week brought me some heavy doses of perspective:

  • A $50.00 lesson in asking for and accepting help that is free.
  • A nation coming together to support a little girl, a worthy cause, and a man’s dream.
  • A walk where I failed to realize the power of tone and word choice.
  • The inspiration of faith, strength, and a smile by a friend’s daughter facing a challenging adversity.

Perspective is one of my favorite topics about which to write because it is simply one of the easiest things to lose sight of.  The problems and casualties of our day rush to the forefront of our mind, blocking our vision of just how great we have it.  As a result, we become consumed by these “pressing” visions, complain to anyone who will listen, and spin a web of negativity that spirals us downward toward a feeling of languishing.

What if we took a moment to realize we do not have it so bad?  What if we took a moment to realize we do not have to go it alone?  What if we took a moment to realize it should not always be about us?  What if we took a moment to have faith, be strong, and smile through our trying moments?

“Fear is easier than faith, so most people go there first.”  A friend of mine shared this wisdom with me on Thursday.  I suppose it is also easier to complain and easier to be negative than to face the situation head on, smile through it, and grow from it.  I know this because I am still a work in progress there.

It is more than talking a great game.  It is walking, living, and modeling that lifestyle.  But, I left this week inspired.  Thanks to two young girls.

The first is Leah.  Most of you know her story.  Her father is Devon Still of the Cincinnati Bengals.  If you do not know their story, just click here, and soak in the inspiration.

The second is the daughter of a friend.  Most of you likely do not know her story.  On Thursday, she went to the hospital complaining of headaches.  Doctors discovered a brain tumor and spinal fluid buildup on her brain.  An emergency surgery followed to drain the fluid, and on Friday, she underwent a five hour surgery to remove the tumor at the base of her brain.  Yesterday morning, the neurosurgeon informed her and her family that no more tumors were showing.

She has shown remarkable faith and strength in her healing journey.  As I have remained updated on this story, her steadfast belief and loving smile have served as a constant source of inspiration.  Please continue to pray for this young woman!  I know her family would appreciate it.

We all face tough circumstances, but proper perspective and faith bring a wealth of healing to our daily struggles.  Fear is easy.  Faith is not.  But this week, I learned that with strong faith and the help of your friends, miraculous things can and will happen.

The only way to get beyond a tough situation is through it, then learn from it.

Why not do it with a smile?

Bring your best today!

Love, Noah

P.S.  If you have seven minutes to spare (and we all do!) watch this new video from @JoshuaMedcalf.  Buy in and the results could be life changing!

Daily Short-hOPT: Love and Compassion vs. Depression

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

Early in this blog endeavor, Noah wrote a piece entitled “What We Don’t Know“. This has been one of my favorite posts of his for multiple reasons, foremost among them the very truth of the matter. The gist is, we don’t know what battles the people we encounter every day are facing, thus, we should treat everyone with compassion, understanding, and love.

Last night, a legendary actor and comedian was found dead of an apparent suicide. Robin Williams was very much a part of my family’s life growing up. From ‘Aladdin’ to ‘Jumanji’ and ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’, his movies were woven into our family fabric. My younger brother and sister wore out our ‘Aladdin’ VHS tape, and later on, I would wear out ‘Good Will Hunting’ and ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ ones.

As someone who once dealt with depression, I can speak to the absolutely empty and helpless feelings that it evokes. A clouded mindset caused by depression often means that the victim believes that he or she can’t be helped, and that talking about it is a sign of weakness; worse, that if one speaks about it they will be seen as crazy or unstable. In cases where the courage is wrangled to speak about it, it is often met with an attitude of “suck it up” or “you just need to get over it”. Maybe this is a way for some to deliver a pep talk, but I can assure you, it only serves to send the suffering further down that desperate rabbit hole.

For those who do suffer with depression, you need to know that you can be helped. You don’t have to continue to feel the weight of the world. You’re not crazy. You can be happy. There is hope. You have to seek it. You have to decide that you’re done living a muted and miserable existence. You have to understand that your feelings are real and palpable (though some may not see it that way) and you have to decide that it’s time to change that. You have to reach out. Help is available. There are people who will understand you and talk you through it.

For those who have never had to deal with it, it is incumbent upon you to be there for those who need you. It is imperative that you also reach out to those around you who are hurting. Often, your job will be to simply listen and be there. You won’t always have to talk. Mostly, you’ll need to listen and offer support and encouragement. If someone seeks you out for help and guidance, please do not dismiss them. Please don’t give the “pep talk” I discussed above. It doesn’t help. I’ve mentioned listening twice in this paragraph, and let me mention it a third time: listen. Be there. Support. Encourage.

The world lost a fantastic human being last night, and though I didn’t know him or have any inkling of what he could have been dealing with, I can imagine that he fell into a place where he considered himself unredeemable. The fact is, none of us are. We don’t always know what battles people are fighting, but with a little effort and compassion, we can help them along their way. And, at the risk of sounding overly dramatic, you never know whose life you can save. Dramatic or not, think about how true that statement could actually be.

Have an awesome Tuesday,


Daily Short-hOPT: Go Inspire Yourself

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau

I’ve been racking my brain all week trying to come up with a good next post, and I keep coming up empty. I last posted on August 1st, darn near a week ago. I keep coming back to the same point: nothing is inspiring me to write. I’ve been poring over social media, which is usually a good accelerant for the writing process. I’ve been reading the news. I’ve been listening and conversing with people. Nothing. No inspiration. Nada. It’s been a real bummer. This morning, as I continued to try to come up with a great, new angle or blog idea, it hit me: I need to inspire myself.

I just Googled “inspire yourself”. Apparently, my “Inspire Yourself” idea is not unique. Okay, whatever. I thought it was cool. It doesn’t make it any less poignant. Regularly, in my own life, I have sat back and waited to be inspired instead of inspiring myself and then, in turn, inspiring others. (FYI, I’ve used the word “inspire” or a derivative 5 times in 3 sentences. That’s a lot.) That’s not cool. We can’t always just chillax and hope that something will come our way that gets us off our butts and into the game. We need to make our own way, and live the lives we’ve imagined, to steal from Thoreau.

This handy little wikihow article lists 8 ways to inspire yourself. Among them, Trust Yourself stands out to me immediately. Trust your instincts and stop being afraid to fail……


Okay, if I’m being 100% honest, that last sentence almost made me barf. Not that I don’t believe it, I just hate that I wrote it. That’s not something I would say or even write, necessarily. In that instance, I felt like someone trying to portray a person who writes motivational posts…you know, not an actual person who actually does it. Like, maybe if I was asked to write something like Tony Robbins would write, I would have written that. I like Tony Robbins, but I’m not Tony Robbins. Ugh. In my effort to pump something out today, I started off with a solid idea and could feel it starting to fall flat after the second paragraph. So, in that regard, I failed. Quoting a wikihow? Come on, man.

However, I did manage to put some words on digital paper and was successful in inspiring myself to write something. The point remains the same, and I do believe in it. Sometimes you can’t wait to let others motivate you. Sometimes you have to kick yourself in the arse and get rolling.

What do you want?
What are your goals?
Where do you want to be?

To answer those questions, you’ve got to get inspired to do more about them than waiting for someone else to push you.

Go inspire yourself.

Have an awesome Wednesday,

P.S. – The irony of me writing a post attempting to inspire the reader to inspire themselves is not lost on me.


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Daily Short-hOPT: Watch The Stars

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” – Marcus Aurelius

This past weekend, as I floated around Elk Lake with a cold adult beverage in my hand and live music in the air, I took a moment to stop and appreciate things. My beautiful wife was floating next to me having an awesome time. We were in the company of great people; friends old and new, and an awesome couple of people who allowed us to invade their lake home for the weekend (thank you, Rodney and Terri, for your hospitality. We truly had an amazing time). Our son was with Nonna and Gramps for the weekend, and he, too, was having a great time. He got to go fishing for the first time, and he even touched a fish, which is way more than I would be willing to do. Yuck. In that moment, things stood still, and I was able to feel just how great we have it. Sure, we’re not blessed with monetary riches, but we are blessed with great family and friends. We have more than we could ask for, and though sometimes the Monday-Friday grind gets the best of us, I find it of the utmost importance to take time to slow things down every now and then to get a true evaluation of what’s actually awesome in our lives.

Contrast that with this current week. On Wednesday, July 30, 2014, my family laid to rest Mr. Lou Hart. Lou was my step-grandpa. He and my Grandma were married for 20+ years. Lou was a World War II veteran. Lou was a gunner in fighter planes and was a general B.A. all over the place. Representatives from the Army were present at that burial, and gave him the formal military sendoff, which was outstanding and very touching. Lou was a good dude, and will be missed. He had a great sense of humor and was incredibly smart. I kick myself for not having made a better effort to have gotten to know him more.

Obviously, burying a loved one sucks. However, in both things I have written thus far, the same message rings true: take the time to appreciate what you have while you have it. Time is fleeting. It is often the experiences and memories of things that really last and stand the test of time. It is imperative that we take time to bask in appreciative reflection as opposed to lamenting the loss of things when they’re gone. Certainly, we’d love to have back our loved ones that have passed, but it’s not possible. I’d also love to be floating around a lake with the King of Beers right now, but it’s just not in the cards for me.

I’m not always great about this. In fact, just last night I said to Amber, “I wish we were looking forward to going on a lake trip this weekend.” However, I have made it a personal goal to be more appreciative and grateful. I am often really bad about this exact thing, choosing to long for what’s lost as opposed to appreciating it for what it was. I’ve seen it in the growth of my son. So many times I’ve wished for him to be able to progress in some way, only to wish he was more of a little boy again once he mastered a new skill.

Take the time, folks. We can only be happier for it.

Have an awesome Friday,


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Daily Short-hOPT: Do (and Learn) What You Love

“Love it and learn it.” – Tony LaRussa

Growing up, I loved the Oakland Athletics.  Rickey Henderson was and remains one of my favorite players of all-time.  While everyone enjoyed The Bash Brothers slamming home runs into the upper decks of whatever stadium they were in (you can say what you want about PEDS, but we all enjoyed it then), I loved watching Rickey work counts, draw walks, hit lead off homers, and blaze around the bases in his neon green Mizuno batting gloves.  Because I followed the A’s so closely, I also became a fan of their manager, Tony LaRussa.

LaRussa led my childhood Athletics to three straight World Series appearances.  That streak resulted in my cringing every time I see a replay of the Kirk Gibson home run off Dennis Eckersley (yes, the one he hit on one foot), elating when the A’s swept the San Francisco Giants in the 1989 Battle of the Bay (the earthquake series), and crying (a lot!) when Todd Benzinger caught the final out of the Cincinnati Reds 1990 sweep in Oakland.  (Note:  I also cried a lot when the Reds won Game 1 in Cincinnati, which I attended in full Oakland gear.)

As I listened to LaRussa deliver his Hall of Fame induction speech on Sunday, I pulled out some notes I took when he spoke in January at the ABCA Convention in Dallas.  The above quote was one I had starred in my notes then and one that he mentioned on Sunday.  I began to think about how simple of a philosophy this would be for all of us.

What do you love?  What are your passions?

It may be our job.  It may be a sport.  It may be a historical event.  It may be an idea we first heard about in a book or class.  It may be something we have seen someone else do.  It may be a person or persons.  But, we all have things we love and about which we are passionate.

Do we take those things for granted?  Do we really seek them out as often as we want?  Are we learning as much as we can about those things?

Loving and learning go hand in hand.  If we truly love something, we should want to learn as much about it as we possibly can.  That learning only continues to foster more love, and the cycle continues.

LaRussa expressed this message in January and again on Sunday.  As he began his Major League coaching career, he developed a passion for baseball.  Because of this, he sought out ways to learn more about it.  He learned from its history; he learned from fellow coaches and players; he learned from studying his notes and replaying games and situations he had just managed.  This passion and his desire to continually learn earned him recognition for his in-game strategy and management of bullpens, which ultimately culminated with his induction in Cooperstown.

The Oakland A’s teams of my childhood provide some of the early memories of my love for baseball.  Great pitching, tremendous power, solid defense, and incredible speed.  Those teams lit a spark in me for something that I loved.  I have not stopped learning about baseball since, whether through playing or coaching.  That love and learning has taken me to places that I never imagined, all because I pursued one of my passions.

We all have things we love.  Oftentimes, we make excuses for why we do not get to spend as much time as we would like doing those things.  Find some time.  Make some time.  Do the things you love.  Learn the things you love.  You never know where that passion may take you.

Bring your best today!

Love, Noah

Daily Short-hOPT: Don’t Oppress Your Son

“To me, the definition of masculinity – and femininity, too – is being able to lay in your own skin comfortably.” – Vincent D’Onofrio

This morning, I retweeted something that I really liked: 10 Things to Teach your Son about True Manhood. What I enjoyed about the article was that it talked about young men learning and maintaining manners, understanding how to be compassionate, and admitting mistakes. I like these virtues. They exude character. At the bottom of the article, I read a couple comments, the first of which praised the article, but disagreed with a previous post about painting toenails. Being the inquisitive fella that I am, I located said toenail article. I wish I hadn’t: Don’t Effeminize Your Son. Sigh.

This article mentions a J.Crew ad depicting the company’s female president painting her son’s toenails pink. The bone of contention is that doing things like this blurs the lines of “God-given distinctive between boys and girls.” Further, “Don’t effeminize your son. Our culture is rotting because real masculinity is on life support…You can show your boy how to clip his toenails, but never paint them. Ever.”

Here’s what this article is really saying: men are men and women are women. At no point should a man do anything that could be construed as female activity. Cooking? Get back in the kitchen, women. Footballin’ and drinkin’? Saddle up, dudes. Pardon me for believing that this is utter, complete, and total horse manure. This is what we want to teach our young men? This is the message we want to them to hear? Do we really want to draw such specific distinctions between male and female activities? To what end? So that we can continue to perpetuate outdated ideals and clearly define what it means to be a “man’s man”?

You know what I find impressive? This: My Son Wears Dresses, and That’s OK With Me. You know why I find it impressive? It’s impressive because being a father of a son is REALLY hard, especially in instances like these. I want my son to be a man of character. I want him to exude the things that were discussed in the “10 Things” article. I want him to be respectful and I want him to treat women (hell, all people) with compassion. But, you know, the other day he was walking around the house in his mom’s high heels. If I’m being honest, it made me feel a certain way. I can’t explain the feeling specifically. It wasn’t a good feeling. I think it was probably a natural thing felt by a lot of men when their sons do stuff like this, though. Maybe the feeling arose because I have been ingrained to think that boys doing something less than manly is wrong. When he told me to look at him in those shoes, I said “Buddy, you’re funny” and left it at that. You know what happened when he wore those shoes? Nothing. After a few minutes, he hopped out of the shoes and went back to being Spider-Man. The end.

What would have happened had I made a big deal out of it? What if I had told him that real men don’t wear those kinds of shoes? I can imagine that a three-year-old brain would have been utterly confused by that sentiment because one of the most important people in his life (his mother) wears them. How can that be bad or wrong?

We have got to let go of this notion that men have to be John Wayne in order to be considered real men. We have to show them love so that they’re able to reciprocate it and repeat it. We have to allow them to feel and express feelings. We need to teach them that it’s okay to express themselves creatively instead of stifling them. We have to remember, dads, nail polish and high heels aren’t going to make our sons less manly. Our job as fathers and mentors of young men is to push them to be the best possible versions of themselves by treating people kindly, possessing a solid work ethic, and allowing them the creative freedom to pursue what makes them happy.

In my opinion, this is the manliest thing we can pass along.

Have an awesome Thursday,


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Daily Short-hOPT: Anger. Hostility Towards the Opposition.

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is not a post about tony Dungy or Michael Sam. This is a post about anger.

As the Tony Dungy/Michael Sam drama continued to unfold its ugly self square into our laps, I pondered the implications of what Mr. Dungy said and meant. My thoughts drifted to people. Real people. Actual human beings who could and would be affected by the words of a stranger. These innocuous thoughts started to drift toward anger. As I am prone to doing, I reached out to one of my favorite sounding boards, Mr. Welte. We discussed such things as this topic, religion, love, compassion, etc. The anger started to subside. I began to think more clearly.

Pretty boring, eh? I got upset over something that, big picture, isn’t a big deal. I talked it out. I felt better. The end.

What if my anger had spilled over? What if I had continued to let it cloud my judgment? What if I had written a nasty blog post and attacked people via other forms of social media? And for what? Because I don’t agree with Tony Dungy? Who cares?

The point is, we often allow our emotions to control how we react. When that occurs with negative emotions, it generally provides negative results. Things seem to happen so quickly anymore, and that has lent itself to us reacting more quickly. We have immediate sources of news and immediate outlets with which to tell everyone within screen-shot that things and people are stupid. We comment angrily on things and regularly fail to listen fully or with any context. Mostly, though, we fail in general to take any amount of time to consider and reflect.

What if we waited a second to hear the other side of the story before we erupted? What if we internalized that other people have varying viewpoints and that it’s okay to disagree? What if we were compassionate enough to read other people’s emotions and use that as a point to back off and take a more compassionate route? What if we were okay with being wrong from time to time? What if we had the intestinal fortitude to not only know we were wrong, but took the time to admit it?

As long as we have the ability and the anonymity of the internet to lose our minds all over people for what we consider to be righteous causes, a part of us will always be willing to react to anything we read with emotion. This is not limited to the internet, of course. We react emotionally to people in interpersonal situations as well. Remember the guy that you flipped off in traffic earlier? What about that last little tiff with your sig-o? (That’s right: sig-o. I stand by it.) Could those situations be handled better with a cooler head prevailing?

In any situation that has potential for high emotion, we should remember to take the time to calm the hell down and find some perspective.

Have an awesome Tuesday,
P.S. – Bonus points for anyone who catches the music reference in the post title – without Googling!


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