As a military veteran, my heart broke when I read this report in a recently published AP story:

“Suicides are surging among America’s troops, averaging nearly one a day this year…The military also is struggling with increased sexual assaults, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and other misbehavior.”

According to the Wounded Warrior Project, “an estimated 400,000 service members live with the invisible wounds of war including combat-related stress, major depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Another 320,000 are believed to have experienced a traumatic brain injury while on deployment”. Add to that the 48,000 servicemen and women who’ve been physically injured, and it’s easy to see how this could affect soldiers.

American troops are heroic, but they are also human.  And they need our help.

Most citizens want to express our appreciation in real and tangible ways, but what can we do?

Here are five practical ways to support our troops:

1. Give honor

It’s almost become cliché to thank the troops for their sacrifice. But knowing that your country stands with you reminds you that you’re working for something bigger than yourself. Whether we’re in conflict or not, never, ever stop giving honor where honor is due.

2. Befriend them

The best support comes from relationships. This is also true of the men and women in our armed forces. By building friendships with those who serve, you not only gain a solid friend, you help improve the morale of our military.  Trust me, that gives those who serve a much-needed boost of encouragement.

3. Love their families

Military families need our love and support, too. Think about it. Who pays the heaviest price when our troops are deployed? Their loved ones. Who has their lives disrupted frequently when a military member is relocated? Their loved ones. Who does it affect the most when a soldier, airman, marine, or sailor returns from conflict with injury, stress, depression, or death? Their loved ones. Some of the best ways to show your care for our military is to love on their families.

4. Donate to them

Serving your country comes at a price. Sometimes, the cost is your well-being. And since you don’t enter the military to be rich, sometimes the cost is financial. For a number of veterans, sometimes the cost is a scar that hasn’t quite healed. Thankfully, there are a handful of great organizations doing good work to help and support active-duty military and veterans. In your generosity, consider giving to a reputable military organization.

5. Pray for them

As we read in the report, we need to keep our troops and their families in our prayers. A suicide a day is heartbreaking. Not to mention the divorce rates, increased abuse, injury, depression, and other struggles. For people of faith, we believe that prayer can reach places no person ever could. We trust God to know where it hurts and where healing needs to take place. Never discount the power of a heartfelt prayer.

Every time you meet a member of the military or veteran, know you are standing in the presence of greatness. These warriors deserve our support, love, friendship, and sincere appreciation.

I, for one, am very proud of those who have the courage to serve. They are true heroes.

How will you help support our troops?
For those of you who’ve served, what other suggestions do you have?



How to survive a grizzly bear attack, according to National Geographic. If you were caught in this situation, would you play dead or try to fight back


If this motivational speech from Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis doesn’t fire you up, I don’t know what will.

If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor watch the clip. If you have, view it again.

Warning: Studies have shown it may accelerate the growth of chest hair in most men (and even some women).

Ray Lewis gave this inspirational talk to the Stanford Cardinals men’s basketball team just before an NIT tournament game in March of 2012.

Here’s the text of the Ray Lewis Speech:

“If tomorrow wasn’t promised, what would you give for today?

Forget everything else. Forget everything else. Forget that there was any sunlight left.

What would you spend today thinking about. Yourself? Or the man that’s beside you? Or the man that you know you’d give everything in your heart for?

We get one opportunity in life. One chance in life—to do whatever you’re gonna do. To lay your foundation. To make whatever mark you’re gonna make. To leave whatever legacy you’re gonna leave. Leave your legacy. And it’s found through effort.

Wins and losses come a dime a dozen. But effort? Nobody can judge effort. Effort is between you and you. Effort ain’t got nothing to do with nobody else. So that team that thinks they’ve already seen you? They think what they’ve seen on film. They ain’t saw what film shows. Because every day is a new day. Every moment is a new moment.

So now you got to go out and show them that you’re a different creature now than I was five minutes ago. ‘Cause I’m pissed off for greatness. Because if you ain’t pissed off for greatness, that means you’re okay with being mediocre. Aint no man in here okay with being just basic. So let’s do what we do. Tonight, we ain’t gotta worry about taking no breaks.

Let’s go do this!”


Need a kick in the keester? Allow Rocky Balboa to motivate you.

This is one of the best movie speeches ever and a talk we all need from time to time. The text of the talk is below the video.

The Rocky Balboa Speech

“You ain’t gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here. (He gestures to the palm of his hand). I’d hold you up to say to your mother, ‘This kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.’ And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watchin’ you, every day was like a privilege. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started lookin’ for something to blame, like a big shadow.

Let me tell you something you already know.The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth! But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!

I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, you ain’t gonna have a life.

Don’t forget to visit your mother.”


Cabela’s tugs on the heart strings of every outdoor enthusiast in their “It’s In Your Nature” video. Nicely done!

“It’s your unquenchable passion to experience the outdoors. It’s a deeply ingrained desire to personally connect with wildlife and untamed places. More than a pastime, a hobby or a diversion, it’s in all you do and how you live. At home, at work and, of course, out there, it’s always present, fueling your thoughts and guiding your actions. Because It’s in Your Nature.”




If there were a hall of fame for heroes, Johnny Cash would be in it.

Of course, his musical career is legendary and continues to stand the test of time. But what makes him a hero, that special quality he had, was his raw honesty. In his songs, in his story, and with his gritty style.  His troubles are well-documented, but so is his remarkable change.  He serves as a reminder that no matter how far down the road we’ve gone, it’s never too late to turn back around.

What follows are a collection of quotes that speak to what it means to be a man. Let’s learn from the Man in Black himself as he shares some of his wisdom with us.


On being yourself: “To love who you are and what you do, and to have faith in your ability to do it. You’ve got to know your limitations. I don’t know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren’t too many limitations, if I did it my way.”

“I’m not talking about ego, and arrogance, and grandiose feelings. I’m talking about self-esteem and confidence. That’s vital: self-esteem and confidence.”


On what his marriage has meant to him: “We have a sharing marriage, and we share the road, we share the bedroom, we share the backstage, onstage, we share the music, the feeling, and the emotion, and the joy of it, you know. And the pain and the sadness of it. We share the love of our children. It would be terribly lonely not to have someone to share those things with me. And she’s not only a lady who I share my life with, but she may have been the person responsible for my still being alive. She and God. Because she came along at a time in my life that I was on self-destruct, and she saw what I was doing to myself and she helped bring me back up out of it. And we’ve fought and worked hard to keep our feet on the ground since then. But like I say, today is a good day.”


On how to succeed: “I could go by a lot of catch phrases like, ‘Know your own self,’ ‘To thine own self be true.’ Self-esteem and perseverance and confidence are all important, but the first thing is to know what you want to do. Set that goal out there and never lose sight of it, and work toward it. And know that there are going to be byways and sidetracks, but keep persevering and keep on, and do what you know that you want to do.”


On what his father meant to him: “My father was a man of love. He always loved me to death. He worked hard in the fields, but my father never hit me. Never. I don’t ever remember a really cross, unkind word from my father. He was a good, strong man who provided for his family. That was his sole purpose in life when I was growing up.”


On the purpose of the human body: “People say, ‘Well, he wore that body out.’ Well, maybe I did. But it was to a good purpose. They should be thankful that I wore it out to the purpose I wore it out and that was writing and recording and touring and doing concerts. Everywhere I could possibly do them that I thought I might enjoy them. I thought people might enjoy me.”


On getting past your past: “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”


On his fashion style: “I wore black because I liked it. I still do, and wearing it still means something to me. It’s still my symbol of rebellion— against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others’ ideas. Everybody was wearing rhinestones, all those sparkly clothes, and cowboy boots. I decided to wear a black shirt and pants and see if I could get by with it. I did and I’ve worn black clothes ever since.”


On what advice he’d give to young folks: “Youth shouldn’t be clouded by any chemical or anything. Somebody my age can easily know that too, but youth is too wonderful a thing to mess with while you’ve got it.”

“Children, all your life, you will be faced with a choice. You can choose love or hate… I choose love.”


On how his faith fueled him: “The Bible is the source of the greatest joy. It’s a great moral stabilizer in a world that’s run amok. It’s an anchor for my own conscience, my own mind and my own life. It keeps my feet on the ground. It gives the answer to every problem you’re facing, if you look for it.”

“God loves us. That’s why he created us and gave us free will. Kind of like a farmer watching his chickens to see what they’re going to do. It desires that we all come back to him. That’s the way I think, that’s my God.”

Are there any other words from Johnny Cash that have inspired you?


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