Overcoming Life’s Insurmountable: Glenn Cunningham

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A select few face overwhelming challenges in life.  Encouraged with a heart filled with perseverance, these trailblazers adopt an attitude where “Can” outplays “Can’t.”

Born in 1909, American Glenn Cunningham transformed into one of the world’s best middle distance runners.  However, there was much more to this man’s personal story.

Born in Kansas, seven year-old Glenn endured burns suffered from a gasoline explosion at school.  The lower part of his body was substantially burned.  Doctors said that the young boy would never walk again.

Hopelessly crippled by the burns to his legs, young Glenn proved many people wrong about his future.  Not only would he walk, but he ran right into the record books.

Nicknamed the “Kansas Ironman” and “Kansas Flyer,” Glenn’s perseverance and dedicated training brought him into a setting that few could ever have imagined.  He emerged as one of the world’s premiere track athletes in the 1930s.  The mile run became his specialty, and he went on to win numerous races and championships. 

In 1934, he established a world record in the mile run (4:06:08), and his performance would not be bettered for three years.  After his world record run, Glenn was quoted, “I always believed that I could walk normally, and that was the truth.  Now I will run, and run faster than anyone else.”

Glenn’s amazing willpower and faith carried him onto the world stage.   Running the 1500 meter run in two different summer Olympics, he proved his greatness.  He placed fourth in the 1932 Olympics at Los Angeles, but he saved his best for 1936 at Berlin when he earned a silver medal. 

Glenn’s Christian faith was visible in his actions and words.  One of his favorite Scripture verses came from Isaiah 40:31:  “But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Throughout his distinguished running career, Glenn endured frequent leg pain.  Few could imagine how he needed to overcome so much with a faith-filled, inner strength.

As Glenn’s running career wrapped up, the country needed his service in World War II.  He served in the U.S. Navy, and he developed new physical training programs.  Later he taught athletics and physical education at Cornell College in Iowa. 

One of his most noted ventures exhibited his desire to care for underprivileged children.  He and his wife established the Glenn Cunningham Youth Ranch, which offered a temporary home for over 10,000 foster children.

These closing words from Glenn epitomized his approach to his life:  “In running it is man against himself, the cruelest of opponents.  The other runners are not the real enemies.  His adversary lies within him, in his ability with brain and heart to master himself and his emotions.”

Kevin Hart Quotes

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The best feeling in the world is seeing the benefits and rewards of hard work.

The only time you should look back in life, is to see how far you have come.

Kevin Hart (born 1979) is an American comedian and actor.  He identifies himself as a Christian and opening talks about his faith.

Treasured Moments (Haiku Series #189)

Visualizing

Midnight sky awakes

Milky Way explodes with dreams—

Hang on to each star

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Trusting

Remaining patient

Sometimes life comes full circle—

Second chance arrives

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Overcoming

Trapped in harsh desert

Mountain of perseverance—

Thirst finally quenched

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Helen Keller Quote

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Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

From Romans 5:3-5:  “And not only that, but we also boast in our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt Quotes

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A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.

To reach a port we must set sail.  Sail, not tie at anchor.  Sail, not drift.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) was the 32nd President of the United States (1933-1945).  Both of these quotes were spoken during one of his “Fireside Chats” on April 14, 1938.  Roosevelt used these radio addresses to rally America during the Great Depression and World War II.

Henry Cloud Quotes

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Whatever’s happening today, remember it is only ONE SCENE in a long movie.  Don’t treat it like it’s the whole story.  Keep writing the story.

We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing.

Henry Cloud (born 1956) is an American Christian best-selling author and leadership expert.

Lifetime of Lessons (Haiku Series #182)

Reaching Out

Express gratitude

Sincere appreciation—

Send handwritten note

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Evening to Morning

Night’s quiet moments

Preparing for tomorrow—

Embrace our blessings

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Wisdom’s Endurance

Life’s endless highway

Patience and perseverance—

Journey of waiting

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Mahatma Gandhi Quote

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Strength does not come from physical capacity.  It comes from an indomitable will.

From Ephesians 6:10:  “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His power.”

Rita Moreno Quotes

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My middle name really is perseverance.  Maybe people need to have that kind of particular core driving them.

I believe staying young at heart is all in one’s personal attitude . . . you can’t instill that in anyone.

Rita Moreno (born 1931) is a Puerto Rican-born American actress, dancer, and singer.  In 1961, she received an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress in “West Side Story.”  During her long and distinguished career, she has received awards for her television, theatrical, and musical works.

Melody Beattie Quotes

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When it’s too difficult to keep swimming, float.

It’s so easy to look around and notice what’s wrong.  It takes practice to see what’s right.

Melody Beattie (born 1948) is an American author.  From her own life experiences, she has written several self-help books.