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READ ENTIRELY BY MATT WITH SPECIAL AUDIO-ONLY FEATURES!  

Featuring "You Never Let Go" by Matt Redman, an update from Matt Potratz, and a Bonus DVD including footage of the actual avalanche, ground zero, and a special video message from Matt on adversity.

I've climbed some of the biggest mountains in the Northern Rockies behind the handlebars of a snowmobile. But the most difficult mountain I've tackled in my lifetime is the mountain of recovery.  Read the story of my fight to climb this rugged mountain behind the handlebars of faith in God.
      "Life Happened," and I learned some very real life lessons that I couldn't have learned otherwise. I'm honored to pass them on to you.  It's a gripping, emotional, and real story and you'll want to keep turning the pages.
     I've always been the type of guy that grabbed ahold of life with both hands and made the best of it. Then, an avalanche left me with a hand I can't use. But by the hand of God and the amazing people in my life, I've never been without "Two Hands."

Matt Potratz-

 

 

 

 

 

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YOU EVER WONDER??

This week my question might seem very broad, but we’re going to narrow it down to a specific area. You ever wonder what it would be like to be someone else? You catch yourself watching them, seeing all they have, or all that they can do, and thinking, “it must be nice”, and wondering what it would be like to have that life. If we’re to be real, I bet we’ve all entertained that thought more than once. It’s not limited to age or gender either. And I would venture to say that social media has increased this topic quite a lot. We watch someone on Facebook or Instagram, and see all the wonderful things they have going on and we wonder what it would be like to have that life. But we should also wonder what we’re not seeing, or what they’re not telling us. For the most part, whether on social media, or in personal interaction, what people show to the public eye is only the good stuff, the happy vibe. We don’t know what’s really going on in their lives. We do know what’s going on in our lives so we tend to feel “less than” or even “inadequate”, because we know the areas in which we struggle. But know this: their struggles may be different, but they too do have struggles. They do feel pain. They too do have bad days.

A good example of this topic could really be my own life. You read my posts on Facebook or Twitter, you see pictures of me in front of a large crowd, or maybe you’re there when I get a standing ovation, or you see me signing books, or you simply listen to these thoughts each week. And it can be easy to think, “wow, this guy really has the life; He gets to travel all over, meeting new people and seeing new places, his message is impacting lives, they stand in line to buy his book and/or get an autograph, and he gets paid to do it all. I wonder what it would be like to have that life?” I even had a guy a few weeks ago, at a local gas station, say “headed out again huh?” And I said “yep”, and told him where I was off to. With a smile he said, “Must be nice”. And I’ll admit; all of those experiences are great. But what about when the lights go down? I don’t post on Facebook about phantom nerve pain that still exists in my paralyzed hand. I don’t talk about it all. It’s not near as bad as it once was, but it’s still there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I don’t tell you about the frustration of my short-term memory issues that require everything to be placed in my calendar on my phone to give me reminders throughout the day. I don’t tell you about the times that I sometimes cry when I’m alone and run into tasks that would be relatively simple with two hands, but prove impossible with just one. That’s just a few of the struggles you don’t hear about. And I don’t tell you any of that because I want you to feel sorry for me. I don’t want that at all. That’s why I don’t usually tell you those things.

I mention all of this, hoping that you see my point, and the lesson in it. Next time you catch yourself wondering what it would be like to have someone’s wonderful life. Take time to wonder what it is that you’re not seeing. You are not pathetic. You are not weak. You are not inadequate. You are human, and so is that person, who’s life it is that you’re wondering about.

Now, I must add that it is good to have people to admire, and lives to model your own life after. But just be sure you’re not watching them, or anyone else, from a point of insecurity or a feeling of inadequacy. Never forget that even if their life appears perfect, it isn’t. There’s so much that you can’t see. You look at them wondering what it’d be like to be them. You ever wonder if they’re looking at you wondering the same thing?

Avalanche Survival StoryOn the Sunday afternoon of March 1, 2009, while filming for the movie "A Calculated Risk”, produced by 208 Productions, the sport Matt loved so much changed his life forever. Matt was aboard his tricked out Arctic Cat Turbo M1000, when he triggered a large avalanche in his favorite riding area, beautiful McCall, Idaho.

Check out his incredible story and hear how after a near death experience, God spared Matt Potratz' life and today lives are being impacted by his story.  >> READ MORE

 
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YOU WIN SOME, YOU LEARN SOME

I’ve had a crazy schedule lately, so we missed a weekly thought last week, but I’m back in the saddle this week.  Today, after my boys’ t-ball team won the league championship, and my boys were both selected to play in the all-star game, I ended up in the middle of conversation amongst parents who disagreed with having a champion, and selecting all-stars, at such a young age.  One father said, “all the kids are all-stars.   They’re all champions.  This stage should be all about learning the game, not winning and losing.”  And I can see his point, and understand his position, to an extent.  However, my reply was “true, they should be learning, but they have learn to win well, and how to lose well.  In life, there are winners and losers.  They need to learn that reality.”  He said “ya, ok.  But aren’t they a little young?  What age does that lesson come along at?”  And I said, “as soon as they’re coherent.”  And please don’t think I’m being harsh, or being a hot shot.  I am sensitive to my boys’ feelings when lose or don’t get chosen for the team they want to be on.  But regardless of their age, I capture the opportunity to teach them to lose well.  I make sure they know that their value and identity is never determined by whether they’ve won or lost, but also that losing is as much of a reality and a necessity as winning.  The title of John Maxwell’s book says it all: “Sometimes you Win, Sometimes you Learn, with the word “Lose” crossed out and the word “Learn” in place of it.

The transition toward having every kid be a winner so that we won’t hurt their feelings, could ruin our future.  Some youth sports don’t even keep score anymore because they don’t want the kids to feel the disappointment of losing.  Whether we’re 3 years old, 30 years old, or 103 years old, losing is a reality.  Those that learn to lose well, and learn from their loss, are the ones that truly end up winning in life.  Henry Ford failed more than once in developing the Ford automobile and launching Ford Motor Company.  You’d never know it now as Ford has become one of the leading automobile manufacturers in the world, with just shy of 2.5 million vehicles sold in 2013.  When he faced reality of his 3rd failure, and going broke again, Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again.  This time, more intelligently.”  In other words, “get better, and begin again”.  The same true of losing.  Whether you’ve lost a game, lost position, lost status, lost money, lost an opportunity, or lost a relationship, you get to choose: will I quit, or begin again?  Will I get better, or bitter?

So, my hope this week is to inspire you to re-think winning and losing.  If you have kids, teach them to find advantage in their adversity, and learn to lose well.  And whether we have kids or not, let’s all get better at viewing our failures through the eyes of Henry Ford: as “opportunities to begin again.  This time, more intelligently”.   You win some, you learn some.

 

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BE AN INFLUENCER

YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED THAT SEVERAL TIMES I’VE REVISITED THOUGHTS FROM WEEKS BACK, AND IT’S NOT BECAUSE I HAVE NOTHING NEW TO WRITE ABOUT. IT’S BECAUSE I SEE VALUE IN, AND EVEN FIND MYSELF NEEDING TO REVISIT THE THOUGHT AS A REMINDER. MANY OF THESE CAN REALLY BE DAILY DISCIPLINES. WE’RE REVISITING A THOUGHT CALLED SIMPLY, “INFLUENCE”, AND YOU’LL NOTICE I RENAMED IT “BE AN INFLUENCER”. AND I’M GOING TO ADD TO IT AS WELL.

I’VE ALWAYS VALUED INFLUENCE AND BEEN A PRETTY STRONG INFLUENCER, BUT AS WE DISCUSSED PREVIOUSLY, MY FRIEND PAUL SMITH BROUGHT TO LIGHT THE REALITY THAT INFLUENCE IS A VERY RELEVANT TOPIC FOR EVERY ONE OF US. WE TEND VERBALLY OR NONVERBALLY TO SET PEOPLE APART AS EITHER “INFLUENCER” OR “NON-INFLUENCER”. THE REALITY IS THAT IN SOME WAY WE ARE ALL INFLUENCERS. WITH OUR WORDS, OUR SILENCE, OUR ACTIONS, OR LACK THERE OF, WE ARE VERY LIKELY INFLUENCING SOMEONE OR SOMETHING. HERE’S WHAT WE HAVE TO ACCEPT: THAT INFLUENCE IS EITHER POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE, THERES REALLY NO MIDDLE GROUND.

ONE OF MY CLOSEST FRIENDS IS A FLIGHT ATTENDANT. SHE DOESN’T GO TO WORK SPECIFICALLY WITH “BE AN INFLUENCER” ON THE AGENDA. BUT, YOU CAN GUARANTEE THAT IN SOME WAY SHE INFLUENCES EVERY PERSON SHE HAS CONTACT WITH. SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS HER INCREDIBLE SMILE, OR AN ACCIDENTAL FROWN OR EYE ROLL, COULD MAKE OR BREAK SOMEONES DAY.

SHE ONCE TOLD ME A STORY OF A YOUNG GIRL ON THE PLANE WHO WAS FLYING ALONE, AND MEETING HER GRANDMA AT THE DESTINATION AIRPORT. SHE WAS PRETTY CONFIDENT FOR HER AGE AND SHE HAD A FUN LITTLE PERSONALITY. BUT, YOU CAN BET THAT BEHIND IT ALL, SHE HAD SOME FEAR AND UNCERTAINTY. HER FINAL DESTINATION WAS DANA’S LAST LEG FOR THE DAY, SO SHE GUIDED THE GIRL THROUGH THE AIRPORT, MAKING FUN CONVERSATION WITH HER, AND HELPED HER FIND HER GRANDMA. BOTH GRANDMA AND THE GIRL WERE VERY GRATEFUL FOR WHAT SHE DID. SHE’LL LIKELY NEVER SEE THAT GIRL AGAIN, BUT I’M PRETTY CONFIDENT THAT LITTLE GIRL WILL NEVER FORGET HER FLIGHT ATTENDANT THAT NIGHT. AND BY CHOICE, DANA HAD A POSITIVE INFLUENCE IN HER LIFE.

SHE COULD HAVE HURRIED TO GRAB HER BAGS AND BOLTED, BUT INSTEAD SHE TOOK WHAT WAS REALLY
ONLY A FEW EXTRA MINUTES TO INVEST IN THIS YOUNG GIRL AND LEFT THE MARK OF A POSITIVE INFLUENCE, IN THE FORM OF WILLINGNESS TO SERVE OTHERS.

ACCEPT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE INFLUENCE THAT YOU HAVE AND CHOOSE TO INFLUENCE IN A WAY THAT YIELDS A POSITIVE OUTCOME. MANY OF US HAVE GIFTS THAT ALLOW US TO INFLUENCE CERTAIN GROUPS IN A MUCH MORE DYNAMIC WAY. CAPITALIZE ON THOSE GIFTS AND IMPACT LIVES WITH YOUR POSITIVE ATTITUDE AND INFLUENCE.

BUT EVEN IF YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE YOU SHOULD BE CLASSIFIED AS AN “INFLUENCER”, BELIEVE THAT AT WORK, SCHOOL, SPORTS, CHURCH, FAMILY….WE ARE ALL INFLUENCING EACH OTHER CONTINUOUSLY. EMBRACE THE FACT THAT ONLY YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHOOSE WHETHER THAT INFLUENCE IS POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE. THIS WEEK, START MAKING A DIFFERENCE ONE LIFE AT A TIME BY CHOOSING TO FOLLOW IN DANA’S FOOTSTEPS, AND HAVE A POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON ANYONE YOU COME IN CONTACT WITH.

Climbers recognize that the difference between molehills and mountains comes not in their degree of difficulty, but in their significance. Refuse to fight your way to the summit of a mountain unworthy of the climb.

David Foster

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Quote of the Day

We Cannot control what happens to us. We Can control "what happens" to what happens to us.
David Foster