Tag Archive | Winner

Bend Without Breaking ✯

Bend Without Breaking ✯

By Denise Kennedy

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“What doesn’t bend…breaks.”

– Ani Difranco

It is so important that we do not let our failures break us, but that we choose to bend with the storms life sends us, and find a greater strength than before. Yes, these are easy words to write, but I can safely say I am doing this very thing myself.

I feel motivated by the deep emotion shown by the 2016 Olympians. Their enthusiasm and dedication has awakened a new desire in me to overcome obstacles and hindrances in my own life. How we handle defeat reveals more about our character than how we handle success. I am so moved by some of the Olympians who gave their very best, but were unsuccessful in winning a medal. Today they make their journeys home and try to pick up the pieces that disappointment and loss have dealt them. I want to tell them that they are champions too, whether they wear a medal around their courageous necks or not.

One such Olympian quoted the following:

The only thing I ever wanted was to compete in the Olympics.”

(Syria’s Yusra Mardini, representing the Games’ first ever refugee team, after winning her 100m butterfly heat.)

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I want to say to these amazing Olympians that you can bend without breaking; that what you’re waiting for could be just around the bend…if you can choose not to let the challenges drive you around the bend or lose your mind in the process.

For so many Olympians like the horse jumping champion Nick Skelton, taking part in the 2016 Olympics was a matter of great courage. The veteran British Olympian, aged 58, who quit the sport in 2000 after breaking his neck in two places, vowed: “I am not going to stop now.” Nick Skelton, riding Big Star, won a dramatic six-rider jump-off to claim GB’s first show jumping gold to become the oldest winner of an equestrian event.

Imagine what Skelton would have missed had he given up in 2000, or allowed the fear of ever recovering from a broken neck govern his future. His horse, perfectly named Big Star, had almost been put into retirement too, but Nick Skelton believed that they could come to Rio and win. To even have the opportunity to be an Olympian was a huge achievement for both rider and horse alike. If he had allowed a broken neck to literally break him, his future would not hold the amazing gold medal achievement he enjoys today.

But Nick is a winner, even if he had not won gold. Each Olympian is a winner simply because they overcome so many tough and challenging circumstances in order to compete. There are so many motivational stories being shared every day about the obstacles and personal health setbacks that many overcome in order to finally be in Rio. I am sure a book could be written with all their moving and exhilarating accomplishments. To me, it is one of the reasons I found myself glued to the televised overage each night.

“When life’s strong winds come blowing, bend with them and let go. By bending, you will become stronger in new places. By letting go, you will be making room for the new and the better.”

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You are all amazing individuals; you have chosen to bend, but not to break. How you choose to handle your defeats speaks volumes to the world waiting to see strength overcome weakness. Well done! I applaud you because you move me to keep persevering and bend with the storms of life.

The 2016 Olympics have ended, and as I watch the energy of the closing ceremony, I want to awaken a desire in us to overcome the obstacles that try to break us. Make a decision now, that by the time the 2020 Olympics start, you will be able to look back and see how very much stronger you have grown!

Start now…I am.

Denise  ✯

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The Giving Thanks Season ღ¸.•*´¨Thanksgiving!

by Denise Kennedy

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As I sit here at my office table writing to you, I am surrounded by half-packed boxes and disordered belongings…all of which are screaming for my attention.

My freshly brewed coffee steams beside me, swirling amidst the scent of my favourite pumpkin spice candle, and the birds chirp and dance outside as the frost melts in the November sun…

So I choose to be still. I choose to be thankful. It is easy to be thankful when all about you is splendidly perfect and testing times have come and gone, but when you are in the midst of true battles it can be a difficult thing to choose. I understand my friend, as I too am in that place. Between the now and the not-yet can be the scariest place to find yourself, or the grandest adventure ever. We can either see it as an opportunity or a threat.

I am moving, well getting ready to move, to a place unknown to me. As I prepare, I have been reminded over and over to be grateful for the things I have, while waiting for the things not yet seen. We have a choice to make…we can wallow in fear or we can flap our wings and use the winds of adversity to take us only higher. I want to choose the greater thing, the activity of winners, of fighters, of eagles. Today my friend Katie Taylor won her fifth world boxing championship title. What a legend! And as I watched her interview after the fight, I was overwhelmed by the expression of pure joy and relief on her face.

I couldn’t help but think of all the times she must have felt like giving up, or quitting. There must have been days when the sacrifice seemed too hard or too costly, but it all paid off today.  And what a day of thanksgiving it is for her and all of us who know her and love her.

So, my friend, today we must decide to be brave, to be thankfully courageous, and respond with strength, boldness and faith. We can let the fear of the unknown overcome us or we can choose to respond with determination and perseverance. In this season of Thanksgiving it can be hard to be thankful when things are not as we would love them to be, but when we start to focus on the many beautiful things in our lives, joy will come and fill our tired hearts.

As we embrace the winds of adversity and change, thankfulness and bravery can be our companions.  Choosing to be thankful creates a strong foundation in our lives that becomes our default response, even when circumstances are completely challenging. It is not easy but it is possible. I am sure there were days when Katie Taylor had to fight to believe that she could achieve her dreams, and today she celebrates where discipline and training have brought her. We can too my friend!

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I invite you today, to be thankful, to be bravely thankful! And now back to my boxes…the adventure awaits! ¸.•*¨) Nisey K

☀ ★ These Colours Don’t Run ★ ☀

☀ ★ These Colours Don’t Run ★ ☀

By Denise Kennedy

Well, Ireland’s chances in Euro 2012 are over, yet still a few green, white and gold flagpoles, car mirror covers and window flags are proudly displayed around the city and suburbs.  During the games everyone rushed to hang their teams colours from every window sill, car window and roof top.  I even saw houses fully cloaked in Irish flags or other Euro colours of their choice.  I loved it.  And even now when a team flag catches my eye I smile.  Why?  Well because it screams support.  It shows commitment and dedication to a cause, all be it over!  It shows the desire to stand by your team when they need it the most.  And the whole world took note of the fact that although Ireland were losing and failing to qualify further, still those Irish fans in Poland sang even louder in prideful support of their lads in green on the field.  So much so that the lyrics of ‘The Fields of Athenry” were posted on the front page of a Polish newspaper.  When the colours we support are floundering in failure and disappointment surely that is the time they need our voices, flags, and belief in them so much more.

They say that a true and loyal fan is proven most, when they stick by their team even when failure looms and all chances of winning are gone.  That’s a true fan in my book!  Why wait until a team is doing well in order to show our support?  It seems very easy to me to support a winning team, but true bravery and commitment are revealed by the fan who sticks by his colours when they have lost the fight.  When their motivation and determination drop shouldn’t we come alongside them and stand shoulder to shoulder even more?  I say a heartfelt “YES!”
Supporting your team is a lot like a relationship, friendship or marriage.  When it gets tough and the temptation to give up overwhelms them shouldn’t we hang those colours even higher?  Wave those flags even harder?  Shout those anthems even louder?  Love them even deeper?  Hold them even closer?  For surely that’s when they need us even more.  Who knows but one day it could be us needing them.
When the wind and rain beat against their face; when the cold icy fear of failure torments them and when all is lost and life is crazy, shouldn’t we be the unconditional love and side line coach that screams their name out loud and says I’m WITH YOU and I believe in you?
It reminds me of God’s heart towards us.  As a Coach, He faithfully stands on the side lines of our lives screaming our names and reminding us of the truth that He is with us.  Never will He leave us.  He wore the colour red for us.  His team won us over.  That makes us winners too!
Whoever you are…do you need to hear someone calling out your name and wearing your colours?  Or do you need to reach out to someone you know and call their name?  Maybe they need to hear you say you’re with them and believe in them?  Goodness knows it could even be your own dear heart that needs your own acceptance and support.  It is more blessed to give than to receive but as you give to others it will return to you a hundred fold.
So grab that flag and hang it up through all the seasons of winning or losing.  Your support makes the difference.  Your love brings comfort to someone who has forgotten what it is like to have a supporter.   That person who is failing and afraid needs to know you will never give up on them.

Is that person who feels like a failure today, the one who looks back at you when you look in the mirror?  Then please be reminded that you have the Almighty Coach, and He thinks you are amazing.  No matter how tired, worn out or confused you feel today, He is shouting your name at the top of His voice.  He is cheering you on from the side lines.  He knows your name and exactly where you are.  Listen, and you will hear His voice telling you to get back up and wave that flag!  He sees your true colours, He sees you as a winner!

I read a caption written underneath the American flag the other day…it read;

” These colours don’t run!”  and my heart echoed in agreement!  The courageous don’t run either…be a Faithful Flag-Bearer!  Someone on your team needs you!

☀  Denise  ☀