ASK BIG, PRAY BIG, LIVE BIG  

  • EACH DAY YOU CHOOSE EITHER A SLAVE MENTALITY OR GOD’S ABUNDANT MENTALITY

By Terry Carter, Editor

When we hear of a friend or relative speak of a blessing, an opportunity or a miracle in their life, why do we doubt that a great gift could exist for them?

Is God unable to hear our prayers and bless us in special ways? No, God hears all of us, but some prayers – like the ones Pastor Joel Osteen spoke of recently – seem to remain unanswered. And like most of you, I feel frustrated without instant gratification of my prayers. What Paster Joel Osteen recently mentioned during a televised sermon is changing my mind regarding routine ideas, prayers in my life because they often orginate from a limited or “slave mentality.”

When we pray, do we ask God to keep us alive through a tough time or to keep our old car running? Those are weak prayers. By asking and praying big, I suggest you ask God not to become a better slave in your current life. Ask to become a better dreamer, a better achiever, a better go-getter, to set a new standard for this generation. 

How big are your dreams? Ask big today!


Our God is the God of abundance, and you cannot reach your fullness in life without asking for and pursuing your biggest dreams. In order to reach grand dreams, you must first begin to think great thoughts and envision greatness in your life.

 Now will God make you rich, famous and fabulous just so you can look good on the red carpet? It is unlikely you will be blessed greatly despite a strong prayer unless you also tell God that you will give back and help others.

The Book of James 4 describes praying a sick prayer, a weak prayer or a prayer for the wrong motives that seems to go unanswered. Joel suggests that asking God for big dreams and miracles is exactly what the Lord wants.

When we ask God, we acknowledge that He and Jesus can do the impossible. When the blind men called out to Jesus, Jesus asked them what they wanted

You are God’s prized creation, the apple of His eye. Joel suggested asking Him daily for your biggest dreams like it is your special birthday. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you treasure. Be bold enough to ask. Ask big in child-like faith, and there will be times when God will show you miracles even though it looks impossible in your eyes.


God said you are to reign over your life – not hide in the shadows hoping the poverty, pain and desperation will subside one day.  What you do will prosper and grow abundantly, based on The Bible. The Lord will give you the desires of your heart if you “ask for explosive blessings.”

So why do so many of us back away from helping friends and chasing our dreams? I have seen good christian people turn their back on a friend who is offering needed help or an opportunity. Often their reasoning for rejecting the gift is unsupported by facts, but I suspect they lack an inspired dream – or they are too embarrassed or complacent to improve their situation.

Sitting on the sidelines and watching the world go by is not God’s plan for us. We are directed to seek out and pursue Godly, inspired dreams, missions, achievements. I believe we should look for inspiration each day in nature, in music, in art, in people, in love, in friends, in business and much more. 

Regardless of your sex, dimensions, skin color, education, you were created for greatness. Either you pursue that every day, or you avoid it by running away from inspiring moments, great people and life-altering events. Will you boldly ask for blessings and go where no man, woman or child has gone before?


My next area of greatness will never be reached by me if I sit at home watching TV each night. Because big ideas come true for others, I know I can also strive for better results and perhaps great memories. Success will never be a destination. It is simply a journey I am taking up a tall, amazing mountain slope where the view improves with each step I take. 

Success is reached daily by moving – sometimes falling – forward. I am traveling on this global quest with many inspired friends, and the comradery makes the sore legs and stumbles all the more memorable. They are quality people with big dreams, big prayers and big needs – all of which Jesus can meet at the right time. And failure is a healthy part of success – don’t think you can reach the pinnacle of life without hard work and failure.

Perhaps our journey together would be even better if our prayers also became fearless as we pray for dynamic miracles to help millions of people insteadof hundreds of people. For we are all humans, and each of us is a miracle worthy of great prayers, great blessings, great healing, great recovery, great strides and great achievements that may shock our own families.

But for the one small child who today decides that she will be the first Master’s Degree in her family, I say, congratulations. See it today. Chase it each day, week and year – and your life’s successes will begin today and never stop. You can climb higher and higher on the journey to success. Their is not summit – just more joy and challenge ahead.

See the biggest dream, and go get it.

TINY TRAINING ADVICE

By Terry Carter, Editor

I am not a physical trainer. However I listen to trainers, athletes and read the best advice available as I continue to chase my goal weight. So I consider myself pretty informed compared to most people who enter the commonplace weight room for a workout.

I like to start with stretches because I’m older than dirt. Don’t argue — I’m probably a century older than you. Regardless stretching is essential for everyone, whether round or thin, tall or short, male or female. After a 5-minute, warmup stretch, then start with a walk to get you perspiring.

Why? Because you don’t visit the gym in shorts and a muscle shirt just to because you bought new running shoes. Sweat matters. For many of us, the more we perspire, the more weight we lose. My experience is ongoing, but I’ve seen that fat areas start  to slim down where I perspire the most. Even my neck dropped 1.5 inches in the past year due to evening walks, mixed with short sprints and some strength work in the gym.

PS — The strength work probably does not help your waist, neck, thighs unless you work in classic Circuit Training style. Translation: Medium-to-heavy weights, high intensity and very little breakdown between exercises or sets. Bruce Lee used this method to create the best real world physique ever — and remember Bruce was amazingly lean.

So I’m calling this workout the Midlife Fundamentals for those of us who fit this generous description: No longer 30; no longer as thin as we once were;  no longer as strong as we once were; no longer flexible. OK some of you were cheerleaders, and others never stretchy. You know who you are. We all have things to deal with — stand tall.

After stretching, a 5-10 minute walk/run is essential to start the sweating, aka weight loss. If you are a slow starter like me or you haven’t worked out in a while, sprint at least 3 times for 30-60 seconds. You know what kind of shape you are in. So give it 70-80 percent of your top speed. For me that is about 6 miles per hour.  Have mercy on me, you younger athletes. I realize you can fly at 15-18 mph and keep it at 12 mph for complete 5k run. 

Here is a quick anecdote that may prove helpful to your workouts: I was at the gym today and observed a personal trainer there working with several female clients. I noticed that some of the people coming to the gym consistently focus only on their strengths, aka strong guys work on strength exercises; thin girls focus on burning calories on a treadmill. My advice to myself and you is simple: If you are actually overweight like me, use their calorie-burning, endurance excises for 60-70 percent of your gym time. If you are thin and not entered in 

Now for 3 upper body strength exercises. Minimize the break time to keep your heart beating fast by perspiring. Remember to vary your various exercises, the amount of weight, the repetitions/sets so that your strength exercises continue to put muscle where you need it. Schwartenegger set the bar in the 1970s at Mr. Universe with legendary trainer Joe Wieder by varying his intense workouts. 

I focus on my back, shoulders and whole arms (biceps, triceps). I use cables, an adjustable military press and a lat pull down machine frequently. Use what machines you prefer, including free weights. BTW guys: It’s not necessary to workout your biceps with a 100-pound barbell each time you visit a gym. Every muscle needs 36-64 hours to recover from an intense workout. Working hard on the same, sore muscles you used yesterday results in more extreme soreness and virtually flat-line growth.

Then go to core exercises and/or machines. One abdominal machine I started on 2 years ago was brutal. I could not move the machine with only 10 pounds on it. I know somebody was probably laughing at me struggling to do a seated crunch. But  I endured the moment. Better technique and time have helped me to now workout with 60-80 pounds. I’m hoping to max out at 100 pounds this summer. 

Another point: If you go to a weight room more than once, you should max out on all the machines you will frequent so you can create your standardized 3 sets, 10 reps workout with the proper weight. In reality, most people — including me — cheat on the 3 sets/10 rep standard we all heard of or read about years ago. If I am trying to build a little muscle, I will find a weight that allows me to barely finish 8 reps and either 2 or 3 sets. If my goal is to burn fat/calories, then I increase my repetitions to 12-15 and do 3-4 sets with a lighter weight on the bar.

Once the core is worked over — and certain dense much groups like calves and abdominals can be worked harder due to their ability to bounce back quicker — move on to legs. Like I said earlier, I’m ancient. So I can’t do all the leg workouts. But a leg press do in 4 different positions with the maximun knee bend can do wonders for your inner, outer thighs, as well as calves. Let me know if you need more details on this.

Finally when you are feeling leg weary, you have 2 choices to complete the gym portion of your workout. Either go swimming for 30 minutes like I did recently, or go 15-30 minutes on a treadmill, Stair Master or elliptical. Or just go for a jog in a nearby park.

Invest in a 30-45 minute workout like that 2-3 times each week and try to go walking before or after work for 30-60 minutes with a friend or pet. And you will be feeling 10 years younger if you embrace the fun some people call hard work. Check with your physician before you go to the gym to get some advice and approval for such an exercise plan. I started taking the tiny aspirin tablet each morning years ago, and I find it makes me more comfortable when I get to the park or the gym with big ideals of an intense workout.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve lost a little weight, about 25 pounds. However I still have 30 pounds to go. I’m not perfect and never will be. If you prefer sitting in a lounge chair and smoking a cigar while laughing at my efforts, I wish you well. But I really wish — under my breath — that you would get out of that sleeping chair and join me at Cullen Park near Barker Cypress…

…At least when it’s not flooded. 

A Tale of Dogs, Cats

Watching people at the park is educational at times. But even more telling is watching people with dogs and/or cats in any environment.
As a dog lover, I have had many dogs in my life, both large and small. These days, our family has two fat, lazy cats. It's an interesting contrast as well.
Dogs are usually loyal, loving and playful. Cats are typically aloof, regal and slightly more demanding when it comes to food and water.
But even those descriptions are subjective as any cat lover will explain emphatically.
I have had the best of dogs (thanks to my parents), the best trained of dogs (thanks to my elder daughter) and a Chihuahua that acted a bit like a dictator on steroids — thanks to Pancho for leaving my toes intact.
The best of dogs was a greyhound mongrel named Tex. He was supremely athletic and ran circles around all of the neighborhood kids in Michigan. The 6-foot, chain-linked, metal fence could not hold him when he decided to take a day trip.
He sailed over the fence with one bound and would usually return within 36 hours with dirt on his white fur and a dead animal in his mouth. Tex didn't dig holes in the ground by his fence. He simply jumped over the fence again and curled up for a nap.
For all of his strength and speed, Texas very gentle around young children. However he may be the real reason why postal delivery people still have his picture posted on their Most Wanted wall.

Pancho, the chihuahua, weighed a scant three pounds. Even living in snow-covered Michigan didn't calm his nerves. He easily qualified as the next of kin to any mass murderer in history,
Pancho, to be polite, was a short male determined to overachieve and rule the world. He began growling and biting toes at a young age.
When he was two years old, the under-sized Rambo made two enormous leaps to reach the dinner table and grabbed my steak dinner. Pancho then ran off with a steak that weighed nearly half his body weight. From then on, Pancho only increased his dangerous ways.

While the canines are hilarious to watch, many people treat their dogs and cats as if they are human children.
It's difficult to give a dog or cat convincing human characteristics. However we humans often prefer trying to win a cat's love and affection — good luck — over the more complex challenges of human interaction.
I know some great people who have no children, but their cat or dog has all the privileges of a spoiled child. Special treats, special sweaters, gourmet food and posh appointments at the doggie/kitty day spa (aka veterinarian).
Some will tell you that every animal deserves to be treated like royalty instead of left under a bridge to fight with other animals.
The same line of thinking says spay/neuter all animals to minimize overpopulation.
While I am an animal lover, I see animals for what they are: animals, not humans. Certainly taking care of an animal is a legitimate concern. But the level of spoiling that dogs, cats see today is amazing.
It's too much for a healthy family to endure.

Those who enable their pet to run their lives need to look closely at why their home is partially run by a 4-legged animal with a limited vocabulary. By “run,” I mean the animal wakes you up at 4 or 5 a.m. on Sunday because it’s the time they know your predictable schedule — or worse, because they are hungry and their patience is running low with the human species.

3FORADIME ADVICE: Train your animals at a young age to listen and obey you. Discipline on your part is what makes a pet’s best qualities shine. If you are inconsistent with children or pets, they will take advantage of that. And some, given a chance, will become the dog or cat in charge in a home you provide. Don’t let that happen with offspring, nor domesticated pets.