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.

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THE TAO OF STRUGGLE

A friend recently asked the rhetorical question we all must answer: Why is everything I NEED to do always so difficult?

After taking the same test administered by the hand of God and failing it repeatedly myself over the years, I choked back a giggle. Then I reminded my friend that life was never designed to be simple or convenient. Everyone has their own perspective on the why. However nearly everyone agrees we are tested daily with seemingly unpleasant challenges.

For myself I always viewed the hard work in life as a character-building exercise developed just for me by God. As a young student, I did well in all subjects and every sport I attempted in elementary school. I made excellent grades, led my age group in T-ball/baseball, golf and more. I even wound up on the front page of the local newspaper at about age nine because I was simply in the right place at the right time. Those were great years, followed by character-building events.

At age 11, I won 4-of-5 golf tournaments and completed a strong baseball season with an appearance in the county all-star game in early June. After that game, my mother observed that I drank about five Cokes to quench my thirst. With one son already living with Type I Diabetes, she was quick to have me tested for the chronic disease. I tested positive and spent nearly 30 days in the local hospital while adjusting to taking insulin injections and testing sugars consistently. 

Just as I was checking out of the hospital from that long visit — my friends called it imprisonment — the doctor checked my throat and found a lump that brought me back to the hospital days later. It was removed, found to be benign and left behind a long scar on my neck — pretty exciting for all of the wrong reasons. These are some of the struggles I deal with even today. We all have ongoing issues we adjust to keeping thriving, or they can conquer us.

In my case, I developed new-found abilities to make detailed charts of insulin doses, blood sugars, meals and exercise to make better daily adjustments to my blood sugars. I became proud of my scars, wounds. While I was quiet at times, I focused on growing into a responsible leader. I found recently after a personality evaluation that my personality is very strong in 3-of-4 basic personality types, which is a scarce quality. They give me a good chance to recognize and solve the battles that arrive daily in my life.

Consider the battle of opposing forces you observe regularly in every city. It is the Yin and Yang of your life: The wind and rain batter the Earth daily; the hustle of life versus the caution required to cross a busy street; debates that start among family or close friends; and much more.

Martin arts legend Bruce Lee used the analogy of water to explain life and our role in it: Water can flow. It can be poured into a cup, and it becomes the cup… this analogy reveals how we humans can adapt and change to fit our responsibilities and environment. Bruce also said: “Water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” This suggests we humans can break down barriers, break out of bad relationships and overcome what holds us down in life. It also subtly suggests that without crashing out of the cup, we can become imprisoned inside the cup forever, while thinking that is all there is.

But how do we break barriers and overcome challenges? With faith, hope and prayers involving God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

To me, Bruce was telling me to be water. And as water, I could conform to the shape I was poured into, or I could crash and wear down the cup, the rock or the room that tried to contain me. It is my choice to flow or crash, and it is your choice also.

In the second paragraph, I mentioned my repeated test failings. It didn’t happen in the classroom. Yet it seemed my Father often created a specific test for me to pass or fail each week. And if I did not pass God’s test, the same assignment was waiting on my desk again Monday morning. God’s tests – in retrospect – closely resemble the math tests we all took in school as we learned simple mathematics.

Have you ever felt like you could not move forward in life until you solved this one puzzle – something like a Rubik’s Cube? Logic works sometimes. But here it did not. Random chance, guts and wild guesses did not help either. Following my heart solved little. After repeated failures, I studied my defeats — typically caused by my own selfish strategies — and resigned to God’s will. 

In reality, this is perhaps the second most certain path to wisdom in life. The best method I’ve discovered is learning from others by personal observation, interviewing people and reading books for knowledge.

Why is life so challenging? Because it should be for all the right reasons. Humans must learn, live and grow. If we all had a smooth, even walk to the summit in life, boredom would dominate the day. The potholes, curves, deadends, tangents, S-curves and roadblocks give us a challenge, a chance to overcome the obstacles.

Take on the challenges in your life. Drama or no drama, tests are for acing. Failure is there for the wisdom to be gained. Death happens to teach the living that today is vital. And setbacks pose only temporary walls in our path if we solve the correct riddle at hand. If not, we seem to take the same test again next week.

Perhaps I need to be more talkative and polite. Perhaps you need to be more resilient. We all have room to improve, except for The One – and I do not mean Neo. 

BEFORE I DIE…

By Terry Carter, Editor

I just finished watching a 6-minute video at Ted.com by New Orleans artist Connie Chang. If you are not aware, Ted.com is a popular website where sometimes inspiring, sometimes groundbreaking ideas are shared in short snippets. Many are calls to action.

Connie’s talk centered around a large chalkboard put up in a neighborhood with the beginning of a sentence and space for the community to fill in their personal answer. The introduction is: Before I Die, I Will…  The website for is http://www.BeforeIDie.cc

While the chalkboard allowed for one line of handwritten completion, many scrawled entries beyond the formal spacing. The canvas was filled in fewer than 24 hours. Now you can find “Before I Die…” walls in Houston and around the world.

In support of Connie’s idea to transform a rundown, abandoned home into a constructive location, I want to chip in my input. I am confident that it too will exceed the formal spacing allowed although it may not match the first signer Connie highlighted. That was a man dressed as a pirate, scribbling: “I want to be TRIED FOR PIRACY.”

Still, here is my personal list.

Before I die, I want to:

  1. Live my life fueled by hope, faith and love
  2. Inspire greatness through God’s will
  3. Show love, appreciation daily to my outstanding, wise and talented children
  4. Celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary with the only woman in my world
  5. Break 35 minutes in a 5K run — hopefully all downhill and with a gale force wind
  6. Write more than 25 books
  7. Play golf in the United Kingdom with Rory, Jordan and Tom Watson
  8. Financially support life-changing organizations like: Archway Academy, Cornerstone Recovery, the American Diabetes Association, The Bruce Lee Foundation and many more
  9. Contribute to world peace with my unique gifts
  10. Share positive family stories for my children to cherish and my grandchildren to adore hearing

Friends, my list is a bit extreme, I admit. But I have always dreamed of accomplishing great things. My wish for you is that you will join me in posting your “Before I Die” list. 

LOVE IS WHAT MAKES LIFE WORTH LIVING

1 Corinthians 13:4-7: 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 

By Terry Carter, Editor

To me, love is the eternal feeling we get when another person accepts us in totality for who we are — and who we can be. And no, your loved one doesn’t want to marry the status quo individual, who is still playing beer pong at age 60 as they did in college.

It may have worked at age 21, but you are wiser now. Right?

The challenge is the agape love so popular in church does not translate smoothly into the real world — without Major League discipline. I have heard many parents and spouses using the “I will love you if… ” phrase in an attempt to manipulate their loved one. Conditional love is  a cruel weapon centered around withholding love if the person making demands does not get his/her way. And it typically falls from the lips of someone who was hurt themselves or was threatened in a similar way as a youth.

Don’t be that person who says, “I don’t love you” for any reason. It’s an immature and selfish thought prompted by anger. While many people inspire rage, it’s better to let God work on them. Follow a better path, and you can be loved even when you make mistakes as we all do. And, no, I am not condoning cheating idiots who don’t deserve a second chance. Let common sense rule for the cheaters who don’t realize a good relationship when they have it.

Most of you have seen a parent chastising their “loved one” about some bad decision and concluding with a rant like this: I cannot believe you did that. If you love me, you better do what I want — or else! If you don’t, you will be sleeping in the backyard forever — you ungrateful, fat cow!

It’s the battle of the selfish children at that point. The biblical verse above defines a more mature, selfless view of love. And I and very thankful I only dive into this cesspool on very rare occasions when my blood sugar is below 60. For non-diabetics, I pray you never have to resort to such conditional threats.

If your lover truly loved you — and you knew it in your heart, mind and soul — unconditional love would be your only inspiration when speaking. It’s a shame we all thought  we were in love at age 12-16 when our brains had not yet conceived what makes love work. Fact is, most teenage guys think they are in love when any girl walks by. And teenage girls are not far behind. But that is not love. It’s a bit less long term.

Just proves that one sign of puberty does not a man nor a woman make. The maturity required to thrive as an adult male or female takes another 8-25 years to decipher. Many of us still have our child-like side intact — just in case a ball game or a temper tantrum breaks out.

On to signs of true love then. Is love truly patient and kind? Yes. Does love really meet all of the descriptions listed above? Yes. 

Do men and women meet those strict rules when they fall in love? Seldom. But it can be done if you follow My 6 Simple Rules of True Love:

  1. Remember,  you are always on a first date with your loved one — even if you have been together for 80 years. Show the courtesy, respect, interest in and admiration for that special person you did when you had to dress to impress and be on your best behavior. We know that won’t last all week, but it’s a good impression that counts first. After that, good taste can lead you elsewhere.
  2. Love is a verb. Show love in all of your actions. Don’t start a food fight, leave garbage on the floor and ignore the dirty dishes. Lighten their load by helping, easing their mind, and doing more than your share. Going the second mile was not a recommendation just for Jesus. It works miracles in marriages too.
  3. Be more powerful than you realize.  I remember hearing a tale of a woman whose  husband left her for another woman years before. The dedicated wife mourned in a unique way: She set out a plate, the best silver wear and glasses she had for 2 people each night — and ate dinner alone for more than 1,000 nights. She set out clean, pressed clothes for her long-gone husband, but he did not pick them up. Then one day, he arrived home about dinner time. He saw a shining plate, silver wear and a goblet, and a well-cooked meal, waiting for him next to his spouse. Pleasantly surprised, he entered the home, sat down and began to eat. He stayed because he was anticipated at home and welcomed when he arrived back. He never left again. With a vision of what you want to happen in your life, not even a deserting spouse can stop you from achieving your goal. Athletes visualize great plays, great shots. This woman visualized a happy husband eating dinner with her every night. It can be done.
  4. Dream big dreams. Make your days together special and memorable. I don’t mean just the first year either. Try dance classes together. Try skydiving. Try golf, tennis, snorkeling, different clothes, food, haircuts. Variety — even with the same person — strengthens relationships. And no one can say they are bored. 
  5. God gave us hope, faith and love to get us through the hard times. So hope for the best in your date, your relationship, your spouse. Have faith that God will grant you a life of adventure, character-building exercises and fun together. And love each other because every mountaintop and every valley is better when you arrive with someone you love. Enjoy each moment knowing that love is the absolute greatest gift you will know in this life. And thank God for that.
  6. Remember, most of all, your love will only be eternal if you make it so. Make it happen each moment and each day. And in 50 years, both of you will want to do it all over again. If you do it right, I promise you will want more time together. But it is a 2-way street, and both parties must be willing to go the second mile for each other. Fear, stubbornness and hatred cloud the purity of love. Clear a path and run toward each other — do not hide in your own inadequacies.

What to do with Kodak?

Kodak cameras and Polaroids were the coolest camera of their day. The Polaroid mesmerized people by allowing them to take a photo and see the print in less than 30 seconds.

That innovation and many more like these changed the world for the better:

  • First digital camera invented by Kodak engineer Steven Sasson, 1976
  • Introduction of the first OLED displays, 1987
  • 1.4 mega-pixel M1 sensors marketing to journalists, government, 1990
  • Kodak CCD sensors used on Space Shuttle, 2008
  • First Kodak Brownie camera released, 1900
  • Kodak Kodacolor first color print film introduced, 1942

Kodak absolutely dominated the film and chemical fields related to developing and printing images. In 1976, Kodak controlled the market with 90 percent of U.S. photographic film sales and 85 percent of cameras. My how times have changed.

First Fuji Film appeared and created equally impressive films to take away market share for those loving prints, slides and darkroom work.

Then the digital camera revolution altered history, and although Kodak was among the pioneers of digital innovation, Kodak fell behind. Film camera sales hit rock bottom, never to recover. Photographic chemical sales also declined dramatically, taking Kodak down with it.

Last week, the photographic pioneer filed for bankruptcy after leading the imaging industry for more than a century. Should Kodak die off, be sliced up and sold, or simply wander into a dusty sunset, it will be a sad moment for photographers who have depended on this imaging icon.

The Wall Street Journal on Jan. 20 published a story revealing the severity of the bankruptcy, financial decline. Some doubt Kodak can bounce back as the company has not yet established itself near the front of the digital camera pack.

So what is to be done for this icon? Try these options on for size. None have been thoroughly researched, and all are competitive fields. But you make opportunities  where you see hope:

  • The WSJ story suggested Kodak may dive into the wildly-unprofitable printer business, which I would not recommend unless Kodak engineers have a new printing method to once-again revolutionize the imaging industry. While ink sales are tremendous money makers for HP, Epson and the like, the creation of printers at prices under $100 is generally regarded as a lost leader among the retail crowd. This option gets a vote of no confidence in terms of inspiring hope into the Kodak machine.
  • How about a partnership with a huge mobile company like Virgin or Apple to provide higher-quality cameras, imaging sensors than currently in use? Apple and Kodak are both clear innovators and arrived on scene after much innovation and hard work. I see hope here in the mobile field or with tablets.
  • Walk into a retail store today to purchase surge protection for your hardware, and you are likely to walk out with an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS). Trouble is, salespeople are obvious to the fact a UPS rarely is built with more than 1,000 joules of energy dissipation capability. Thus, it’s a pathetic surge protector in name only. A true surge protector sold by Panamax or APC handles what fries computers most often and painfully quick — overwhelming power surges through he electrical lines in every house, office. Kodak has the engineers to create quality surge protectors and line conditioners for upscale sales, and their management team can innovate by adding small security cameras into these everyday necessities.

What are your thoughts on Kodak? Great company in my youth. I used Kodak black-and-white film for 14 years before moving to digital technology for good. Those were some golden years.

May Kodak find its way back to home to the hearts of American photographers.

The Verdict on Tim Tebow

Everyone has an opinion on Denver Bronco QB Tim Tebow.

Think for an instant, and so do you. My view on Tebow reveals my strong Christian views. I enjoy everything he does and everything he says. I am pro-Tebow, and Tebowing is encouraged in my home.

Now for the heart of the matter: How many outspoken Christians are outspoken in favor of Tebow? Odds are, those in favor of the Denver QB as an athlete and as a person are primarily — if not exclusively — fans of God. This faithful group believes in miracles, hope and that faith yields results for all to see.

The cynics fall into a category filled accompanied by doubters, atheists and seldom-in-church types, according to my observations and my gut. Remember, never ignore your intuition. It is always a sign, an email if you will, from God.

When I pray, I try to remain thankful for God’s amazing acts, his continued faith in all flawed humans and his daily ability to inspire us. Occasionally I ask for inspiration, and, in the sports world, Tim Tebow is becoming recognized as an inspiration to every man, woman and child who believes.

When Tebow performs a hero act during any game, the brilliant moment is immediately attributed to his belief in God by fans worldwide. His football jersey is selling like crazy partially because people believe in Tim Tebow, unlike our political leaders. IF a highlight moment featuring Tebow does not excite you by now, I submit you are dead — but still breathing for now — or dying in your faith.

The short end of this story: if you believe in Tim Tebow, God has a strong place in your heart, in my humble opinion. I chastise all media members who don’t see the obvious “Thrill of Victory” for what it is. But then the media is pretty jaded and manipulative. Writers/editors are always attempting to persuade you to believe as they do.

If they are anti-Tebow or telling you he’s nothing special, I say think again.

Tebow is a man, a human who has worked his butt off to develop NFL talent. As verbally abused as he is as the wrong QB for Denver, Tebow has worked wonders by getting the Broncos to the postseason. Now he beat the Steelers in OT, which experts would rarely give Denver a chance of accomplishing. Media experts, what’s your next insult against one of the NFL’s brightest rookies?

Let Tebow be, and time will tell where he belongs. Give me a decade to prove his worth to the league.

2012 Bucket List for Politics

Didn’t see The Bucket List — only the previews on YouTube. But, like you, the idea sank in that daring lists are worth making and often doing.

This 2012 time frame may prove to be inaccurate, but here is my 2012 Bucket List for the political world. This fantasy role-playing world of supposed politics consists of evil villans disguised as heroes/heroines and actions that maim even the best of us. Each party coerces the other with a strong-arm tactic or four — whatever it takes — and then attempts to smile and make the legislation sound like it was a joint effort. Black mail or outright bribe seems more appropriate.

On with the 2012 Bucket List:

  1. Elect a U.S. President with integrity, bravery, wisdom, delayed gratification and old-school values. If he has a Bible tucked under his arm, all the better. And, with this Congress, he better know how to tell people “No” every hour of the day. I’m not stuck on party, but I know what has worked in this country for 235 years because I study history and I learn from the best. Give me a strong, honest man or woman who will not wilt under pressure — not a politician who’s weak and ignores business, security, God, American Exceptionalism, the Constitution and Bill of Rights. You guessed it — I am not a fan of Barak H. Obama and his government-run methods.
    I do not know the political affiliation of most of these past presidents, but they led America in a way that shows wisdom and America’s Godly Heritage (Thank you, author David Barton). My brief list of Great American Presidents includes: G. Washington, A. Jackson, A. Lincoln, T. Roosevelt and R. Reagan. Political party does not matter. Their actions mattered in leading America to greatness and keeping the USA there.
  2. Kick every bum out of Congress who keeps voting on wasteful spending at this time of unheard-of national debt. Believe it or not, politicians don’t belong in Washington D.C. They should be digging ditches so they begin to understand what hard work — which most of us invest 8-16 hours a day on just to eat — is. I’ve met Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Their political wrangling and arm-twisting, threats make them useless to American citizens. Go home, Harry. Nevada doesn’t need you ever again, but maybe you can join Nancy in the zoo. Nancy, your persuasion techniques are not worthy of discussion among humans. However I’m certain the arctic exhibit at a major zoo will give you new friends to make — mainly polar bears and wolves like yourselves.
  3. Tell the media — online, print, television, etc. — you are banning their political maneuvering (outright propaganda/lobbying actually) until after the November election. They are full of editorial manure and spewing a diseased agenda on each of us daily. I see through the media stories, attacks and mis-direction. Personal insight and time in newsrooms, television studios tells me at least 45 percent of the nation votes for the man their newspaper or TV newscast tells them to vote for. Can you say mind-boggling? How naive are we to let others tell us how to think and for whom to vote? Grow your brain through use and stop soaking up horrible, depressing news — it will change the person you are. Plug the brain back in and think for yourself. But here’s the real trick: Vote unselfishly for what helps your country thrive the most and not what helps you personally. There is a habit George Washington would be proud of.
    I dare you to ignore the media’s propaganda and not vote like your friend or your dad. Study the candidates, listen to their answers critically (remember how good “Hope and Change” sounded four years ago), ask questions. Be proactive in making your choice. But don’t make a choice because the candidate is your dad or he looks like you. Follow Martin Luther King’s lead: Judge a man not on the color of his skin, but on the content of his character. A very few media sources can help you dig out facts that are hidden and tell-tale facts. Ignore the fluff and find several, serious news sources to who are truly objective. In other words, they don’t tell just good news about 1-2 candidates and rip all others to shreds.
  4. Give me ear plugs until all the campaign ads have been burned in a fire or archived far from me. At least that wish is realistic. I always carry ear plugs and truly hate attack ads. Candidates, if you want my vote and many more, tell us what you believe. Don’t attack the other candidate. It does not work for me.
  5. Get this election over with ASAP.  I’m ready to vote today, and, trust me, I’m HOPING to make a CHANGE when I vote. Help yourself by learning the difference between a capitalist economy and a socialist economy. God help us if voters don’t know the difference as the election draws nearer. Best of luck to all of us when this election finally arrives. From my view, this election is the most important in my lifetime.