Live from Hollywood — Forgiveness!

6 04 2013

I have been following Tullian Tchividjian for about 3 years now.  He is a powerful pastor and author.  His book, “Unfashionable” should be read by all.  He has a powerful way of preaching that appeals to many including myself.  Tullian has an active blog that I follow to gain insight.  On March 22nd, he had an entry called the “Fruits of Grace“.  I started to read the article when it diverged into a recent event in Hollywood.  Now I am very grateful for what the movie industry has done in bringing fiction and non-fiction alive.  I am consistently amazed at the imagination of men and women who work in the motion picture business.  They have a great eye for detail and in keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.

Recently (and maybe always) the people of Hollywood have been a little less active in their profession and more active in the downward spiral of America.  They tend to have a large influence on the minds of Americans in this media focused world.  (Remember that this is my opinion)  But I love it when I see truth being projected from those whom face is in the lights.  Too many people expect the actor/actress to be same off camera and on.  I expect them to be real and to show their real side.  And that their “fruit” in life tells us how much or who they can coach.

Well, in the recent blog by Tullian, we see an amazing act of forgiveness and also, an expectation of forgiveness from others.  Robert Downey, Jr.  was given the “American Cinematheque Award, a prize given to an extraordinary artist in the entertainment industry who is fully engaged in his or her work and is committed to making a significant contribution to the art of the motion pictures”.  A mouth full to say the least.  Most of us know Mr. Downey,Jr from the 80-90’s and recently with the Sherlock Holmes series and the Iron Man series.  He is probably considered one the top names in Hollywood right now.  With receiving this award, Robert can ask anyone he chooses to present it on stage, and he choose Mel Gibson.  Most of us have heard bits and pieces of Mel’s quick drop from the top.

With all this being said, here is Downey’s acceptance speech:

I asked Mel to present this award to me for a reason. Because when I couldn’t get sober, he told me not to give up hope, and he urged me to find my faith—didn’t have to be his or someone else’s—as long as it was rooted in forgiveness. And I couldn’t get hired so he cast me in the lead in a movie that was actually developed for him. He kept a roof over my head, and he kept food on the table. And most importantly, he said that if I accepted responsibility for my wrongdoings and embraced that part of my soul that was ugly—”hugging the cactus” he calls it—he said that if I “hugged the cactus” long enough, I would become a man of some humility and my life would take on new meaning. And I did and it worked. All he asked in return was that some day I help the next guy in some small way. It’s reasonable to assume that at the time he didn’t imagine the next guy would be him. Or that some day was tonight.

Anyway, on this special occasion… I humbly ask that you join me—unless you are completely without sin (in which you picked the wrong… industry)—in forgiving my friend his trespasses, offering him the same clean slate you have me, and allowing him to continue his great and ongoing contribution to our collective art without shame. He’s hugged the cactus long enough. [And then they hug].

Wow!  What an act in the bright lights.  At complete risk of his own career, Downey gives and asks forgiveness.  Someone at the bottom and someone at the top can work!  What if we used this as an example of grace in our life?  What if we were to give more hands up and less hands out?  What if we were to truly give from ourselves and expect nothing in return? Our neighborhoods can be like this once again.  It just takes you.  The whole “Pay it forward” theory.  My friends and mentors in the Life company believe in the motto of “making a difference”.  Check it out for yourself and you will see it LIVE.

God bless,  Aron

Steel the mind and Tender the heart!

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Leadershift….More than just a book

24 03 2013

LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead

This highly anticipated book by Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille is within weeks of publish date.  Those of you who have followed Orrin’s blog have likely been mesmerized by the little sampling from their book.  His recent article,

Jeff Daniels, American Freedoms & LeaderShift

may take you by surprise. (click on the title to go directly to the article)  Daniels uses language that is not “child-friendly”, but in an abrasive line of truth, he explains our “American Disease”.  I must compel the readers to watch the whole video or you will miss the point of it.  I believe this is the factor that prevents most of America from changing the downward spiral of freedom.  Most pull up or check out or turn off, when they should be driving forward.  Take a few short minutes and really take in the facts.

 Now do your future and the future of our country a service and watch the next video in the article.  What if we could take a small parable and bring it to life?  What if we could put our ego’s aside and started looking at the possibility of “shifting” our country’s future for the generation to come?  What if we could lead them to freedom?  I believe we have two men that have made a decision to give direction to the masses, because they choose hope over fear.  Won’t you join Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille and create a “Leadershift”? We can do our Duty to stop the Decline.   Because we can!

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816

God bless,  Aron

Steel the Mind and Tender the Heart.





A Bright Idea: LIFE

3 02 2013

Today we had a guest pastor in to give our morning sermon. His exhortation was fascinating.  It brought me directly back to two recent Blog articles by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward.  Each being a founder of the LIFE company, spoke on the power of truth brings light into the arena and allows more to see.  Chris addressed the issue for “Motivational Myths” and Orrin interviewed Wayne MacNamara after his amazing victory.  I would highly recommend that each one of you read those blog entries.

The pastor spoke on the power of illumination throughout God’s Scripture, and its effect on truth.  Now there is so much to be gained as truth comes into our life.  As we get into a learning mode, we can tend to say that I learned a “new truth” today.  But as we grow older we find that the “new’ truth was always there, it just came into the “light”.  Wikipedia (our always vigilant source of definitions) has multiple meanings for the word “illumination”.  I focused on, ‘ the deliberate use of light to achieve a practical or aesthetic effect’. In the Bible there is a story in the book of Mark about a blind man receiving sight.  It reads, “Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him.  So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything.  And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.”  Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.”  (Mark 8:22-25 NKJV).

My life was so similar to this blind man.  I drifted through multiple years of my life having encounters with truth, here and there, but only by happen-stance.  As each moment would occur, I would have what Stephen Covey called a paradigm shift.  But it felt like it just wouldn’t stick.  Like the blind man through his transition of sight, his first encounter with sight was one almost of doubt.  He seen “men like trees”. Going from no sight to some sight, how would you determine what a tree or a man looks like.  Maybe his description of a man ( in his mind, remember no pictures, ever) was what we know as a tree and vice versa.  It is not till Christ allow for full illumination of the truth does the man see “clearly”.     This story demonstrates the deliberate use of truth to open our eyes.  We see things in a different light or illumination.

Each man or woman should constantly place themselves among people who will illuminate truth.  For the last 10 years, Mary and I have been around couples and individuals, like the Brady’s, the Woodward’s, and Bill and Jackie Lewis, that have deliberately placed light on the areas of Faith, Family, Freedom, Finances, Fitness, Following, Fun, and Friends.  There goal is to give back some that was given onto them.  They have, as this morning’s pastor stated, “meat to eat that others know not of”.  Are you tired of the milk of life?  It is time to experience the “meat’ of truth illuminated around the LIFE company and the great men and women that are part of it.

God bless,

Aron

Sharpen the mind and Tender the heart!





Faker vs. Poser : More than the Same

25 09 2012

Chris Brady‘s [best-selling author of Launching a Leadership Revolution and Rascal] recent release through the Team system, “Depth or Psychiatry” struck a chord with me.  He has a statement of “Fakers vs Posers”.  The claim is one of “Fakers” will present a false self and make claims that they have achieved or gained something that they have not, while “Posers” are achievers in process, and have the look and mind-set to attain their goals.  This was brought to life on Saturday when I got a chance to take my son to an old fashion auction.  The items included garage stuff, farm equipment, and whole bunch of firearms.  Talk about a “man-sale”.  Tons of great stuff available, but also, tons of people watching. Everyone registers for a bidding number and talks the “big talk”- what everything is worth and how many items they will leave with.  As consistently as ever,  people act like they know something about something, but when the bidding starts, the “faker” shows the rest of the world he is missing the courage of his previous convictions.  His or her number never comes up in the bidding war.

Chris puts a stark difference between the words of faker and poser, and more important, the titles given to people.  As God would have it, Brady’s talk also aligns with the new release of Oliver DeMille‘s talk “The Culture of Freedom and How to Spread It!” [LIFE 62]. Oliver talks of 5 traits required to turn a nation toward freedom.  One of these traits is “sensus plenior” which means multiple senses.  This is the characteristic of looking at questions, objects, situations, and written words with multiple meanings not just one.  With my want to define both “poser” and “faker” only as the same, Chris raised my eyebrow to something significant different.

Let’s dive into these two titles and see where it leads us.

I first wanted to see how the world defines them.  Wikipedia defines “faker” as a charlatan, someone who fakes, and/or a person who makes deceitful pretenses.  This is a tough title to say the least, but we all seem to know a “faker” when we are around one.  John Eldridge, author of Wild at Heart, gives some insight by stating that every man’s deepest fear is to be exposed, to be found out, or to be discovered as an impostor and not really a man.  This brings back the meaning to the old 80’s song line by Billy Joel, “When that old stranger comes along” .  Some have a mask/false self that allows them to fit in with the “norm”, and as Chris Brady declares in Rascal, the “committee of They” determines the norm.   The problem is that no one knows who “they” are.  Most don’t want to feel like they are outside of the crowd.  But as I researched the data,  it became abundantly clear that the one that is faking knows for sure that they are playing a false game.  The “faker” appears to be self-imposed.  John Owen claims this mind-set  is like a strong castle with a treacherous party residing inside (ready to betray at the first opportunity possible).  The castle cannot be kept safe from the outside   enemy because the real problem is within.   If we are “fake” to our self, we will be eaten from within.  The “faker” knows it and labels themselves as what they have become.  Dale Carnegie states “when dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity”.

In contrast, Wikipedia defines “poser” as one governed not by the clothes, music, or make-up you wear, but rather by the state of mind and the conformity to their own beliefs.  This is an individual whom is original and self-guided, but gets labeled by others because they cannot see the individual’s vision.  Orrin Woodward once said that a man with a clear vision of his goals looks like a greyhound running after the rabbit around the track.  The only problem is that the spectators cannot see the rabbit.  The “poser” sees the world as it will be, but keeps their feet in reality, in order to get traction to move forward.  Sounds like we need more “posers” and less “fakers”.

Let’s do our part to turn the table toward “posers”.  Posing requires a vision, the clear image of an expected tomorrow.  As Lou Holtz proclaims, “every victory is won before the game is played”  It is about setting the expectation and adding courage.  Vince Poscente in the ant and the Elephant, puts it this way, “Make a commitment to positive dominant thoughts. Shift beliefs, attitudes, and truths so they are aligned with your vision. Envision having the goal rather than merely wanting the goal”.  Now take that commitment and focus on forward.  This is all mixed with a powerful dose of imagination.

Now, each step you take is like practice for the future and will be like “a drop in the bucket”.  With each drop,  the bucket gets closer to full which is the fulfillment of the vision.  Every great athlete or team makes their practices feel, look, and sound like the real thing.  “The more you sweat in practice, the less in bleed on the field” Marcus Lattrel.   Take a lesson from my son, Sam.  No matter the object, he can make his finger, his hand, a piece of wood, a stone, or any toy into a “real” race car.  Is he faking it or just planning for the future through what Einstein called, “the preview of life’s coming attraction”?  In my mind, Sam is a “poser” and you may need his level of imagination to see the truth.

Let’s end this with a great example from Gus Lee’s book, Courage.  –Major H. Norman Schwarzkopf was teaching a class at West Point during the author’s time as a cadet.  One day, the Major decided, “I will teach you the meaning of leadership and courage”.  The author knew that Major Schwarzkopf was a great man, and he was the academy’s most highly decorated combat veteran of the new controversial war in Vietnam.  He said ” Imagine that you and the troops for which you are responsible are on the international border. The enemy can cross it and strike at you without impunity.  But you can’t cross the border and  that order comes from the commander-in-chief.  Now every night, the enemy crosses the border to kill and wound your men, who are Vietnamese Airborne volunteers in your care.  And every night, you chase the enemy, but they escape at the border, where you stop, as you are ordered.  Here’s the question: when the enemy hits you again tonight, do you pursue them over the line?  Or do you follow orders and halt at the border?  The Major asked for questions.  Hands went up.  “If we cross it, will it start a new war?” No.  “If we cross the border, can we destroy the enemy?” Yes.  “If we cross it and get caught, are we in big trouble?” Absolutely. Your president will be very displeased. With you. Personally.  Gentlemen, [should you] STOP or GO?  The author and many others stated to “STOP” with the belief that one should ever disobey orders of the president.  A few wrote “GO” and the major smiled.  He said that there are two kinds of people in the world: leaders and careerists. Leaders have character. They act for what is right and would die for their men.  Careerists are self-centered, and self-absorbed.  They act out of selfishness and sacrifice their men for a promotion.  They save their skin instead of others’.  Careerists can’t lead.  Major finished by saying that leaders cross the border. Destroy the enemy to protect your men. Then they take the personal consequences to their career, knowing that they violated an order but acted for what is right. They feel pride in getting court-martialed and being reduced to private—

You choose–  Faker or Poser. Or as Major Schwarzkopf says, Careerist or Leader.

“Be such a man, and live such a life, that if every

man was such as you, and every life a life

like yours, this earth would be God’s paradise”

Phillips Brooks

God bless,  Aron

Steel the Mind and Tender the Heart.





Unified under a Creed

30 07 2012

Sometimes in the affairs of men there is a call for commitment outside of oneself.  A call that endows us to a Creator under a call.  Throughout history there always has stood men and women with causes that required more than a need for work ethic and persistence.  The strength of one is only improved by the strength of others going in the same direction.  When a group makes a decision to stop making a life and begin making a future for those they love, all the world adjusts and mountains can be moved.  If it be the will of God, we send this Creed out to a “few Stout-Hearted Men”.   The world depended upon them; They depended upon EACH OTHER.  God bless, Aron   — Steel the mind and Tender the heart

Band of Brothers Creed

I understand, that as a member of the Band of Brothers that I am part of a great tradition of honor, loyalty, service, unity, and winning.  I understand that, as a member of the Band of Brothers, that I have a great responsibility to uphold this tradition through my attitude, my words, and my actions.

I understand that the CULTURE of a team determines its success, destiny, and legacy.  As a member of the Band of Brothers, I commit to making our culture a winning culture, to be known around the world as what a unified team of champions should look like. As a member of the Band of Brothers, I pledge my SACRED HONOR to help BUILD and PROTECT this culture with my example, my character, and my commitment.

I Resolve….

To buy into the VISION that the BAND OF BROTHERS will be the team with best duplication and the best attitude.  I understand that the BAND OF BROTHERS’ goal is to become the TAPROOT of the TEAM, which is the BEST TEAM with the MOST LEADERS.  I fully understand that what we do now will determine our future for the next 20 years.  I understand that my goals, dreams, freedom, children’s future, country’s future, and ‘The LIFE I’ve always wanted’, all hang in the balance.

 To model the ‘HEART OF A CHAMPION’ through my attitude and my example.  I understand that there is a price for progress and I commit to pay it in full.  I commit to have the faith and courage necessary to believe in this cause and to deserve victory.  I understand that there are always 3 choices: give-in, give-up, or give it all you got.  I will always choose to GIVE IT ALL I’VE GOT.

To model the 4 E’s: Enthusiasm, Encouragement, Expectation, and Edification is attitude, words, and actions.  I understand that principle of ‘Zeal without knowledge is dangerous, but knowledge without zeal is dead”. I understand that as a member of the Band of Brothers, I need to be the thermostat and not the thermometer.  I will set the tone with ENTHUSIASM at all times, including every meeting I attend.  I will ENCOURAGE through acceptance, approval, and appreciation, and to never criticize, condemn, or complain.  I will work to adopt a NO NEGATIVE philosophy in my life and take it everywhere I go. I understand how important EXPECTATION is , and I will work to set a positive, winning EXPECTATION. I will be the example in expecting excellence, but never judge others.  I understand the power of EDIFICATION.  I will learn to speak all the good I can of others to their face, from stage and behind their back.  I will make a point to honestly edify others, especially my leaders with every chance I get.

To be the BEST STUDENT I can be by mastering the Team Tools, the Team System, and the Top 5 books.  No team will know, use, or promote the Team tools, the Team system, the Top 5 books, better that the Band of Brothers.  I know this begins with me.  I will be w walking, talking CD listening to and promoting machine.  I will work to listen, to know, and to promote the Team packs first, the Team system second, and the Life material third.  I understand how important people skills are and I will be ONE OF THE BEST AT DEALING WITH PEOPLE by reading the Top 5 books on a regular basis.

To master the BASICS of the 5 Step Pattern, Team Approach, Power Player, and Game-Planning.  I understand that DEPTH builds POSTURE AND BELIEF and I will never forget it!  I will strive to get in action and to master the 5 step pattern.  I commit to learning and practicing the methods of TEAM APPROACH.  I understand that POWER PLAYER has always been and will always be our play.  I know now that Power Player is my goal.  I know that it is important to have a Game-Plan and to Keep Score.  I understand, that in order to use a coach effectively, that I need to be showing plans and will work diligently to do so.  If I am showing 15 plans a month, I will seek out my coach with a HUMBLE and a HUNGRY attitude.  I will KEEP SCORE by drawing out my team and having it ready for my coach when we get together.  I understand that my team’s goal is to go 10 deep, and I commit to playing my part to hit this goal.

To be a PROFESSIONAL in all I do, which includes attitude, words, dress, and deeds.  I understand that 100% of what I do wrong and 50% of what I do right will be duplicated.  I realize that ATTITUDE MATTERS and resolve to have a great one everywhere I go, but at the time, to have GRACE for others who might be having a bad day.  I will dress sharp for all house plans, open meetings, and seminars.  I understand that 50% of success is just showing up, and therefore, I will strive to go to everything I qualify for: opens, challenge groups, seminars, leaderships, and promotions.  I will try my best to come early, sit as close to the front as possible, and stay late.  I will be the first to volunteer and encourage others to volunteer anytime the TEAM calls on the Band of Brothers, because I realize that this is my team too.  I live the principle of service before self.  I understand that not everyone is going to do what I’m willing to do, but nobody will ever do what I’m not willing to do.

To always have TEAM PRIDE: first for the TEAM, then for the Band of Brothers, and third for my division of the Band of Brothers.  I understand that LOYALTY and UNITY matter.  I will be the LOUDEST and the most ENTHUSIASTIC person at every event, and especially anytime the Band of Brothers or any individual Band of Brother is speaking,  recognized, or mentioned from stage.  I will have the courage to be the first to cheer and the last to stop.  I know that I am part of a very rare ‘Fellowship of the Heart’, and will not take this for granted.

To build and maintain SPEED OF TRUST with my leader and with my team.  This starts and end with LOVE, CHARACTER, AND GRACE.  I understand that character is doing the right thing despite the inconvenience, feeling, fear, or consequence.  I will strive to have my yes, always mean yes, and my no, to always mean no.  I will take pride in having a great speed of trust in all areas of my life including, but not limited to : words, respect, time, and money.  I will resolve any conflict with courage and grace anytime I see or sense a problem.

To build a ‘BATTLE CRY’ culture.  I understand the principle of ‘Iron sharpens Iron’ and therefore, I will strive to listen to Team Talks on my EBC, leave Team Talks, and promote Team Talk on a regular basis.

Lastly, I resolve to be one the many who are going to BUILD and PROTECT this winning BAND OF BROTHERS CULTURE.  I understand that it only takes a few Stout-Hearted men and women, with courage, commitment, and passion, to lead to 10,000 more.  I pledge to be a true TEAM-PLAYER, to have ENDURANCE when it gets tough, to understand the power of DUPLICATION & MOMENTUM, and to always be the EXAMPLE.  I will do everything in my power, God willing, to honor God, to serve my fellow-man, and to build and protect a culture that all the BAND OF BROTHERS can be proud of!!  THE BAND OF BROTHERS lead the way…..

“Give me some men

Who are Stout-Hearted Men

Who will fight for the right they adore.

Start me with ten

Who are Stout-Hearted Men

And I’ll soon give you ten thousand more.

Shoulder to shoulder, and bolder and bolder,

They grow as they go to the fore….





Mental Fitness Challenge — “I am going to live”

4 06 2012

In the shadow of Memorial Day here in the United States,  I recently finished the amazing story of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in WWII.  The book is In Harm’s Way by Doug Stanton.

This book chronicles the incredible peril of the survivors of this proud ship of the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet .  To give a short summary(very short):”the early morning of July 30, 1945,..the USS Indianapolis, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, immediately killing nearly 300 men, and sending as many as 900 others into the black, churning embrace of the vast Philippine Sea, some 350 miles from nearest landfall.  Four days later when the navy finally learned of the sinking, only 321 of these sailors were still among the living”.

The best-selling author, Chris Brady, talks about being “messed-up” watching the movie, Saving Private Ryan.  Not only the intensity of the cinematography but our mind and heart’s feelings of what it must have been on the Omaha beach-head.  This movie is concluded with the great Captain telling the Private that he had better make his life count.  Now I was “messed-up” in this same way following the completion of the this book.  It is the combination of the 1,196 brave sailors that set out to sail against an aggressive enemy,  the USS Indianapolis,alone, on a secret mission to carry the components of the “Little Boy” atomic bomb, the twin torpedo strikes that sunk the majestic ship in 11 minutes, and the 900 men in and 321 men out of the water ratio of 4 1/2 days later due to exposure, fuel-oil and saltwater ingestion, and hundreds of shark attacks.  But maybe the most striking characteristic was the common thread of the survivors mind-set – “I am going to live”.

Wow!  Volumes of books and blogs could and probably are written on this subject of the desire to live.  It can be put in so many different textual forms. I thought I had a fair idea of the mind-set required.  But after the survivors were quoted this passage “I am going to live”, I found more meaning.  How many of us just get frustrated with our commute to work, or “left-lane” drivers, or our coffee is cold, or same dinner again, or even, “it’s raining”?  Our attitude is critical.  What are we telling ourselves?  Bill Lewis, co-founder of the company, Life, states, “Our communication struggles are not primarily a struggle of technique but a struggle of the heart.  Our war of words is not with other people ; it is a battle within.”  How can we survive if we are destroying our lives from within?

At the same time of finishing this book, I completed the 3rd week of the Mental Fitness Challenge (MFC).  The week was spent on topic of Attitude.  God has such a perfect way of putting an exclamation point on the week.  Listening several times to Claude Hamilton‘s CD, Attitude, and reading through Orrin Woodward‘s chapter on attitude in Resolved, there is no doubt one can take specific intent to “live’ again.  As these survivors of the USS Indianapolis choose their attitude despite the situation, we can too!  I look forward to your choice of “I am going to live”!  Live the life God expects of you.  Take the Challenge to help you formulate a game plan and right attitude to achieve your life goals.  I would expect a WIN!!

God Bless, Aron.

Steel the mind and Tender the heart.





The Mental Fitness Challenge

7 05 2012

Between the comments by multiple people in my life and two leaders in the world today- Chris Brady and Bill Lewis, I believe everyone should be striving with their family, friends, and co-workers to challenge each other with the Mental Fitness Challenge.

90 Day Mental Fitness Challenge

What a grand challenge!  For the last 10 years, I have been emersed in the self-improvement and leadership environment and as I go through the MFC, I find myself constantly being encouraged to be more.  In a world that believes that just by doing more will translate into a “win”, I feel through the 1st 8 days, I am called to be more.  In the 1st CD (MFC1 – 13 Resolutions for Life), Orrin Woodward talks about true involvement in any worthwhile endeavor requires mind, heart, and will.  He demostrates how the “soul can be schooled” through the improvements of each area.

In the 2nd CD (MFC2- Self-directed Education), Chris Brady coins the phrase “Refe-vival-ssance”  ( I apologize for the spelling. This is my guess of the correct spelling).  This is the concept of three needs in today’s world. 1) Reformation –  A return to the truth in all aspects. 2) Revival – An excitement of multiple generations and individuals talking and living the truth. 3) Renaissance – An appreciation of the beauty of art, music, and literature without the loss of truth.

I will not take away your joy 0f a true challenge of becoming who God meant you to be and being comfortable in your own skin. Grab the package and grab some friends.  I Dare you to take the  Challenge — The Mental Fitness Challenge!!

God bless, Aron

Steel the mind and Tender the heart.