Category Archives for "Motivation"

For Something Bigger

This weekend two tribes of people gathered on separate days but in one spirit to raise money for and shower encouragement and support on one person: Lisa G.

Saturday weightlifters of all ages slammed bars for Lisa. Sunday powerlifters got jacked and totaled big numbers for her. Yes, there was competition, but there was one winner: Lisa G.

I entered the deadlift only competition during Sunday’s powerlifting meet. I had only one goal- lift as much weight as possible. One dollar per pound was on the table. Every pound counted in a huge way. I had a plan to hit 455 lbs. then move up to 490 before attempting 500. Warm ups felt good and I smashed both 455 and 490. I called for 500 for my 3rd attempt and went to rest.

As I listened to my music and focused on hitting the last attempt, I was almost overwhelmed with emotion because I knew this was a big deal to make this last lift for Lisa. I went into the main room still listening to my music, I passed off my phone to Caleb to make my way to the platform. I heard the announcer tell the Loaders to take the bar to 530 lbs. This was not what I had asked for. It was a 40 lb. jump from what was already an all-time PR at 490.

It didn’t matter, though. I was already there. Either I’m going to lift this or not. $530 on the line for Lisa. Staring down a 45 lb. PR, I told myself that 490 was a joke and the bar was giving me at least 30 lbs. extra today (somehow using math helped me mentally tackle whatever fear I had). The crowd got behind me, and I was able to lift the weight and complete the lift.

Time-out. Pause. Back up about 40 seconds.

I didn’t allow hesitation or fear enter my heart or mind, even though I knew this weight was not what I planned for and was something I’d never attempted before.


Because this was for something bigger than me. On a personal level it wouldn’t set in until after the fact- in that moment, and even now, it only mattered for Lisa, and that was my only concern.

I whole-heartedly believe that when you’re doing something that matters beyond yourself that you will always find extra motivation and drive to accomplish the task at hand.

Today it happened to be for Lisa, but in the rest of life that “something bigger” is Christ and my wife and son and all I’ve been created to do.

When you find your “something bigger” then impossible becomes the conquerable.

Something bigger 2014.

Life: on purpose.

Life: on purpose.

Everything has purpose.

More importantly, though, everyone has purpose.

This is fundamental to what I believe. Every single human being is on this planet for a reason. This means that every person matters. It doesn’t matter where one lives, what color his skin is, or how much money he has; what does matter is why he is on this earth and who he is created to be.

So the goal then becomes figuring out the “why.”

Why are you here? Has anyone ever told you that there is a significant reason that you are here?

These are important questions to ask, because the answers 100% influence decision making.

I believe that all humans are created in the image of God and are created to bring him glory. That automatically gives us worth and purpose. If we exist (or believe we exist) without worth and purpose, we may as well call it quits now because nothing matters.


if we believe in worth and purpose, then everything matters. If I’m really created in the image of the invisible God and exist to bring him glory, then every thing I do, every word I speak, and everyone I come into contact with matters.

How do I teach someone to believe they need to make good decisions? By influencing their mindset and perspective. If I help them learn about their purpose and their value, then I can help them see why making the right decisions matters on such a huge scale.

I believe this is true. It’s in my DNA to recognize that every decision I make affects my future.

I decide my destiny one decision at a time.

God has the plans laid out, he knows my beginning and my end; but I have to make the decisions that will get me from point A to B.

Wise decisions keep me on the straight and narrow. Foolish or hasty decisions put me in a direction that while require correction at some point down the road to get me back to where I’m headed (my purpose).

My hope and belief is that as I live out my purpose (glorifying God in all I do) that I will be able to influence others in such a way that they too begin to live on purpose.

Purpose. 2014.

To to support Open Doors Christian Coaching, where we will help young people understand what it means to have purpose please visit .

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Open Doors Report

Living in the trenches

Who is the person you trust the most? How do you know this person?

I’d be willing to bet that whoever this person is, you’ve spent a lot of time with them. They know you well, and you know them well.

They’ve been with you through thick and thin.

This is what it means to be in the trenches with someone. You are right next to them through life’s circumstances.

So, here is another question to think about. Would you trust someone who you’ve never met or heard of to help you get through tough times?

Probably not.

Relationship is a key factor in building trust.

Open Doors Christian Coaching will be about building relationships with young people. As those relationships are built and trust is developed, we will be able to have greater influence on the kids who we reach out to. And one of the things we will teach them about is what it looks like to have a relationship with Jesus. So, unless we are serious about developing relationships, we cannot authentically teach about what good relationships looks like.

We want to be in the trenches with these kids- at their school, in their lives, helping them constantly move toward their goals.

I went to a local high school yesterday and saw first hand what it looks like to get in the trenches with kids. My friend leads a character development program in our local middle and high schools and is making a huge impact. I am looking forward to continuing a partnership with him.

Big things 2014


My friend Mark Malek wrote this, and it blew me away. If you have ever lost someone you love, or you simply struggle with mortality, read this. To read more of his incredible work, go to


Grief comes up every once in a while and fills the sky, seeming to cover everything in its mist. We gather under its haze, recalling the rattling of pots and pans on Thanksgiving Morning, the rustle of cards being dealt on rainy afternoons in the summer, and the warmth of an embrace as were greated at the door for a Christmas visit. These memories are deceiving because they often come wrapped with regret of love lost and the fragility of our bones. But without this grief we can never realize the capacity we have to love another human. Without these periods of grief we wouldn’t know the awe struck beauty of joy, the warmth of the sun whose brightness is only determined by our willingness to let it shine upon us. The scandal of grace is that the rays of light that tear the night sky apart have been given to us without payment. Let us allow the light to fill this room. May these memories only be paired with rejoicing in the Divine Romance which never diminishes and never ceases. This is where we find our grandmother today, singing and dancing without any turmoil basking in the warmth of Adonai who has given us light.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

News From Open Doors

3/17/2014 blog

Amazing things are happening in regards to Open Doors Christian Coaching right now. Last week I met with a friend who is doing character development on a pretty large scale in one of the counties we want to work in. Talking with him reaffirmed how strongly our presence is needed in our area. There is such a huge need for positive influence in the lives of young people that we cannot wait any longer to jump in and help. Open Doors will definitely partner with organizations who share our values and are already working to accomplish things we exist to accomplish as well. When it comes to helping people, it’s always better to partner with people already doing the work, as long as they are doing it well because the impact will be immediate and partnering expands reach as well.

One awesome benefit to partnering with this group is that many of the students in the program are heavily saturated by sport culture. What this means is that most of them will automatically want to be a part of the training side of Open Doors.

This week I will be going with my friend to a local high school to see what he has going on and to meet some of the students participating in this program. This step could be one of the initial steps to putting motion to the mission of Open Doors, and I am very excited.

But this also brings up a huge need. Once I begin to create relationships with students and they learn about what we offer, we will need a space for these young people to come to and train. We want to be close to them to be as accessible as possible for those who cannot afford to drive more than a couple minutes to get to us.

We are being strategic about looking for a place, but we definitely have a sense of urgency at this point. If we have a place in next 2-3 months we will be able to be fully operational, impacting young people from multiple middle and high schools.

Please consider partnering with us. We know this is what we are supposed to do, but we definitely need help. Your donation will help us move toward getting a facility and, in time, hiring like-minded team members to help us open doors to a better life for kids who absolutely need positive influence.

Visit to donate.

Opening Doors 2014

Sam Holmes

Commitment, Perseverance, and the Lisa G Story

Chapter 6 Commitment, Perseverance, and the Lisa G Story

Lisa Gniewek is a Mash Mafia Team Member, mother, wife, and she is my friend. She started out as one of my personal training clients in 2008. Lisa is a Pediatrics Registered Nurse, and she came to me to get in general shape. Let me tell you, she was out of shape, maybe the most out of shape person that I have ever trained. Lisa would do a body weight squat, get stuck in the bottom, and just fall over in the floor. I remember wondering if she would be the first person that I absolutely couldn’t help. Really I didn’t think that she would train with me more than a couple of weeks.
That was six years ago, and I can honestly say that no one has ever inspired more people than her. Lisa not only got into the best shape of her life, but she went on to compete in both Olympic weightlifting and Powerlifting. She can now squat with 200 pounds on her back, Snatch 115 pounds, and Clean & Jerk 150 pounds. She has traveled with me and my beautiful wife to over ten competitions, and now she is as much a part of my family as my own sister. Lisa’s very presence lights the room at the Mash Compound. Lisa is also the first person to put me in my place. I have the tendency to let my pride get in my way, and she is quick to tell me exactly when that happens. She will also let me know when my focus drifts from my God, family, and loved ones. She keeps me grounded.
Lisa has been with my wife and me during every phase of the Mash Training Center. She was with me when I was just a trainer at a gym. She has been with us during birthdays, holidays, good times and bad. Lisa is Mash Mafia Weightlifting. January of 2013, Lisa was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer. NO She didn’t smoke! It was just a genetic trait gone bad, and now my friend had cancer. She was given 6-18 months to live, and the whole Mash World was turned upside down. Most people would feel sorry for themselves and just quit on life, but Lisa never stopped Slamming Bars and Killing PRs. God had led her to the sports of Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting, and she was going to give her all. Believe it or not, she has continued to set Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Squat, Bench, and Deadlift personal records during all the chemo treatments, doctor visits, and family duties.
Every week all of us at the Mash Compound watch in amazement as Lisa continues to slam those bars. She works out every morning with my precious morning crew. Every person in that morning crew is Mash Family, and they all act like brothers and sisters. We work out together, have bible studies, and do life together, and all of our lives have been changed by Lisa G. Whenever I feel sorry for myself, get lazy, or want to quit, I think about Lisa’s determination and perseverance. There have been times over the last year where Lisa was setting personal records almost daily. I remember watching her slam those bars in what looked to be absolute defiance of cancer. It looked like she was spitting in the face of cancer. I remember watching her Clean & Jerk 150 pounds. After she completed the lift, she slammed the bar down, threw her arms in the air, and screamed in celebration. At that moment, I told myself that I God has put me in the Mash Compound for a reason. I am there to serve others and to help others discover things about themselves that they never knew.
God put Lisa on earth to be a great mother, wife, nurse, and now I know that she was also put on this earth to inspire others to give their all in what God has given them. When I see her, I remember that we are to give our all in whatever we do to Glorify God. Lisa has without a doubt done just that, and she has also reminded me and the rest of the cast of characters at Mash to do the same.