Healing broken relationships and building better lives – ClydeStyle.

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Birthdays are bigger than we think

I think we all know people who, when asked about their birthday, say that they don’t celebrate it anymore or that it’s just not a big deal.

What are we really saying about ourselves when we make these statements?

One of the things I love about spring is that in addition to the season in the Midwest beginning to change, I have two lovely daughters who celebrate birthdays in March and in April.

My girls are special to me. They know that they are special, but on their birthdays, I have an extra opportunity to celebrate the fact that they exist.

This is a fact of life that is often overlooked in childrearing.

The stability, security and self-esteem for any daughter are wrapped up in her daddy. A father is the first man that a daughter should be in love with. The number one reason is because this would be the daughter’s first taste of TRUE love – unconditional, never-ending, God-like love.

Codependent women, for the most part, did not experience a strong interpersonal relationship with their fathers.

I have counseled a variety of women who have said that even when their father was there, he really wasn’t there. He lived at the house, they ate dinner together sometimes and he was a great provider of physical things.

But how often they exchanged intimacy was in question.

There were no tender moments. They would say things like. “I know my Dad loved me, he just doesn’t express himself that way.” Or, “Dad loves me, he’s just very busy.”

The effects are devastating.

The daughter that doesn’t have the strong interpersonal relationship with her dad will always struggle with her relationships with men. The codependent part comes in her defining moments. She will always wonder is she beautiful, does she matter, who loves her.

And she will look for a male to supply her with these answers.

Just imagine the teenage boys willing to tell these girls that they are beautiful, they are important and they are loved.

What do you think these codependent girls will do in return for these simply words that should have come from her dad?

If you have ever wondered how some guys ended up with these very beautiful and intelligent women – you guessed it, codependency.

The point here is this: Every little girl needs to know that she is loved and that she matters. In fact all of us do. These two things are directly attached to her inner conscious which she will then use to fight off the voice that tell her no one loves her or she’s ugly.

This is why birthdays are especially important to all of us. They should be used as a tool to express love and to celebrate the life of a person we love. Everyone should have at least one day a year where people make a fuss, go out of their way and express their love all because of the birth of that special someone.

It is also for this reason that my two little girls will always know that they matter, that I love them more than life itself and that they are smart and talented enough to do whatever they put their little minds to. They need to understand that our spirits are forever connected and death can’t even separate us. That our love is everlasting – which means from the day they were conceived, it was in love and that their life and death will be spent in love.

Make sure the people you love know it. This must be demonstrated and said out loud often enough to make it a habit. This is how we live with no regret.

Christian restoration

There is a need for those in Christ to renew their strength. This should be a daily renewal for those who believe. Well what about those of us who have sinned? How shall we be restored when we fall a guilty distance from God?

There are three things that need to happen for restoration. It is essential that restoration happens, but we have to do our part.

Nehemiah is probably one of the best stories in the bible on this topic. We see Nehemiah once finding out that the wall in Jerusalem needed to be rebuilt, he did three things that needed to happen to restore the wall. First, he cared enough to do something.

His life was going well. He could have turned a deaf ear to the plight of Jerusalem, but instead he wept. He showed great compassion for those who were suffering. The next thing he did was pray. He talked to God and he came clean about the condition of Israel saying “Lord we have sinned.” It is essential in restoration to come clean with God. Often times we try (as crazy as this sounds) to not give God the truth. Not because we think he needs to hear it, but because we hate to admit it. It’s a very humbling experience to come face-to-face with our guilt. God expects us to though. He wants his children to be this vulnerable with him.

Next Nehemiah began to work. He put his compassion into action despite the opposition he faced. This is because in the fourth chapter of his book, Nehemiah declares that the “people had a mind to work.” Nehemiah was able to get that wall built because he cared, prayed and worked. So we need to care enough to change, be honest enough to take our burdens to the Lord and leave them there and then go to work. We have to put action with our caring.

These actions will lead to the restoration of any child of God would needs to be restored.

Praise God for making a way for us!

Comfort one another with these words

Some people have the natural ability to tear people down. And I don’t mean tear them down physically as in a beat down or something UFCish. I mean with words.

We do not understand how destructive our words really are. Prisons, mental health institutes and cemeteries are filled with people who were destroyed by the words of others. There are people walking around right now and some may even be reading this blog who have allowed someone in their life to make them feel less than. Someone told you that you were ugly, fat, stupid or weak. Others may have implied it which to me is worse. The bottom line is you did not deserve to be told those things.

On the bright side, today’s blog is designed to help us become builders – builders of people. We need to understand the power of the spoken word and let compassion be our safe guard for the things we say. We should be spraying words of encouragement all over the place.

Encouragement includes the giving of courage, hope, confidence, support and help. It is not compliments or catch phrases, but words and deeds born out of actions from a loving heart. The Greek language indicates the word comes from the same family of words used to describe the Holy Spirit as our paraclete (Comforter), “one who comes alongside us to help.”

In the book of Hebrews 3:13 the bible says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Compassionate hearts encourage and they look for opportunities to do it daily. The way in which we encourage is important as well. When society or even Satan gives you reasons to be anxious, it is the encourager who comes with words from the holy writ and calms you. Where we are overcome by fear, the encourager stabilizes us with scripture. And when Satan tells us a lie, the encourager brings God’s truth.

What a great week to spend time searching for those who need a word of encouragement. If nothing else, tell them that there is someone who is listening and he hears everything that we say. Tell them that there is someone who answers every prayer that we secretly pray. And then tell them that there is someone who loves us and he will NEVER turn us away. It’s Jesus the Savior from Mt. Calvary and he hears everything that we say!

Reaching full potential

We have all heard the old adage of “fake it, til you make it” and of course we know what this means. This speaks directly to potential. One of the saddest states to be in is to look back at you life and realize that you did not develop to your full potential. The only scenario worse is to be at the funeral of a person who never reached their full potential.

Potential is defined as something that can develop or become actual. It’s not automatic and it’s not always the end of the world when it doesn’t happen. I have a friend who had the opportunity to play professional basketball. He got a college education out of the deal, but every now and then he looks at his life and thinks about the what ifs. He has actually done well for himself, but he can’t see that because he’s caught up looking at what didn’t happen instead of enjoying what did.

There are many people living like this and what’s worse here is that some of them live their lives out as failures. They carry this defeating attitude with them where ever they go. Their view of the world becomes skewed as to see everything as a negative. They are truly wounded.

What they need to realize is the greatest thing about potential is that it’s really never too late to develop into something. The most important ingredient in this equation is our belief system. You are what you believe you are. So if you think you can, you will. If you think you can’t, you’re right!

Often times these folks of little faith just need someone close to them to say, “you can do it!” Successful people tend to come equipped with this option already planted in their heads. They have a little voice that says “you can do it!” every time the going gets tough. For the doubters this is not so. They take every opportunity to doubt the possibilities of anything positive.

So, for those of us who help, we need to jump at the chance to support the folks around us. We know and understand that some people really need you to literally speak possibility into their lives. In most cases they just need this little push and then they can get going. But without our encouragement, these potentials have no hope.

Is there any accountability among us?


Part of managing responsibilities is owning up to the accountability of them.

If I am responsible for helping you cross the street and for whatever reason you don’t make it, I must naturally assume some accountability for what happened to you.  Maybe part of it was your fault, but can I really ignore my own culpability?

I bring this up because it seems that the more life goes on, the less accountable we become. We have fooled our conscious into believing that collateral damage happens. We act as if it cannot be avoided.

For example, we still run cars with combustible engines which take gasoline.  This is not because it is the best type of engine nor is it because oil is in abundance.

Automakers should have long outgrown the conventional means of transportation in favor of more cost effective ways to move people about the country.

Who has that responsibility? Government gate keepers and automakers would shoulder the burden. Who is accountable for the pollution and the effects the exhaust and other elements have on the environment?

Not only are we destroying our environment for profit, we fight wars for the same reason. Who is responsible for going to war? Who is accountable for the deaths?

The food we eat is so processed and engineered that it is more of a drug than a part of any food group. These processed foods are the cause of many degenerative diseases. Who is responsible for the production of this genetically modified processed food? Who is accountable for the effects it has on our society?

Maybe the answer is to build more prisons for those who have decided for filthy lucre’s sake, to pawn our nation off to the highest bidder. Maybe we should call to task those who have abandoned their accountability.

It’s sad that the adults of this nation talk about how irresponsible the next generation of children are, but I say they have learned from the best!

Are you a true friend?


It is very difficult these days to find true friends.

I’m not talking about just a drinking buddy or someone who you can tell your problems to. I’m not talking about the people who support you or will lie for you or who loan you money.

I’m talking about a person who makes you better. The friend I’m talking about keeps you honest, is strong where you are weak and would defend you with his life. You can have a really bad argument with a true friend and get up and go to dinner afterwards. 

With a true friend you can look at each other and just know. You just know that unconditional love is there, support is there and compassion.  This friend has no problem speaking the truth in love to you and you know if you want their support, you’d better come correct!

This type of friend may wear other hats in your life. They could be your dad or mom, your minister or a spouse.

In Proverbs 27:17 the bible says that as iron sharpens iron, one person sharpens another.

The constant scraping of knives together will sharpen each one for the better. Never can you have the scraping without benefit.

A true friend is made of iron and they will be there no matter what. We serve a God that sticks closer to us than a brother! A true friend whom you can cast your cares upon because he cares.

Do you have a friend like this? Are you this type of friend?

Changing shoes always births a fresh perspective


Those of us who live in the south were privileged to get hit with an abnormal winter storm last week that shutdown cities, closed schools and universities and had people flooding to the grocery stores.

Six inches of snow and a few inches of ice fell in Charlotte, NC. People were literally afraid to drive and the governor strongly encouraged everyone to stay off the roads. This story led national news because ole man winter wanted a vacation so he went south for a week.

If this had happened in the Midwest it would not have been newsworthy. In the month of January, Detroit set a city record getting 39.1 inches of snow. You would have to go back almost 100 years to find 39 inches of snow in Charlotte!

North Carolinians got a dose of what it feels like to wrestle with snow. Just for about a week, the “dirty south” was purified from its warm weather delusions. For them the lesson is simple: In everyone’s life a little rain and snow must fall!

It’s difficult to take warm weather for granted when you have had a run in with snow. It’s difficult to not count your blessings, when calamity has visited you too.

You see, we really should be living our lives in gratitude to God for what he has done. And then when hard times come we remember the good times and say thanks. When the good times come back, we should remember the hard times and say thanks. This concept keeps us in a state of thanksgiving for whatever we experience because we know God is working for our good.

Let us not have to change shoes with someone less fortunate before we can realize the blessings we have. We should make every effort to let the people in our lives who are a benefit to us know that we appreciate them … And give God the glory!

Must see for Bruce Lee admirers like me!

What if?

Upon occasion I like to sit and day-dream about the world being different. I mean if we as Americans had a different way of thinking. What if we never looked to gain anything from anybody? What if the motivating factor for everything we did had to do with the betterment of humanity and not the financial gain of ourselves?

Dr. Jonas Salk was the person credited for the discovery of the cure for polio in 1955. Two years later Dr. Albert Sabin created the oral version. As time went on and the research continued we began to learn more things about polio all in the interest of science and humanity. These two men lived good lives and neither wanted to gain financially from their work. Dr. Salk, when asked who owns the patent for the polio cure said, “the American people own it.” These two vaccines helped remove polio in many different parts of the world. Within the period of 1988 to 2007, the number of cases was trimmed down significantly from 350,000 to 1,652. 

By 1994, polio was completely removed from the Americas. In 2000, it was erased in almost 36 countries within the Western Pacific region including Australia and China. In 2002, Europe became polio-free. By 2008, only four countries remained affected by this disease, namely Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nigeria. Today, the transfer of poliovirus from one person to another has been widely disrupted. However, wild poliovirus transmissions are still very much possible, particularly in areas with poor sanitation as well as low vaccination coverage.

What if this effort was repeated for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and AIDS? What if the pharmaceutical companies were all not for profits and a successful year for them would be to “break even” with their budgets and not make a profit. What if their sole drive and goal was to make themselves obsolete? What if hospitals were all not for profits with the same goal– to educate people to the point that they never needed to be hospitalized? What if as a country, it mattered to us what we ate, how we interacted with the environment and how we treated one another?

You can’t help but wonder if we, working together, would have figured out time travel, gain the ability to move objects or even learned to fly. We would most certainly have worked out starvation and degenerative diseases. We could even eliminate rich and poor people, make education completely free and enjoy world peace.

And then I woke up.

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