Pittsburg Pirates Make Baseball’s Playoffs After 21-Year Drought

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Trivia: Who’s the first Western journalist to interview the new Iranian President? (Answer below)

Words can’t describe the feeling right now in Pittsburgh. Major League Baseball’s playoffs are set to start next month. It looks like both the Yankees and the Mets chances are slim.  For the Yanks, maybe the A-Rod drama was too much. But the Pirates earned a wild-card spot in the playoffs after a 21-year drought.

The last time they made the playoffs was back when Barry Bonds was on the roster. Some might say those were the best and worst of times. Bonds would later be accused of using performance enhancing drugs. The current players today may have wondered whether a day like this would ever come.

They’re not alone. Many everyday folks deal with all kinds of stuff in life. Some would prefer not to live in denial when they lose an important means of survival like Food Stamps. Maybe the Pittsburgh Pirates players have been there and done that. Now they’re poised to be a team that can make a run for it.

The players sprayed champagne and sparkling cider in the clubhouse after the deciding game. Many could be heard singing the song from the band Journey, “Don’t Stop Believing” as they posed for pictures. This is a good reminder that even when things look bleak, at any time there could be a win-streak.

One never knows when or how your number gets called or if an idea takes off. But it’s been said that “someone might plant the seed, another waters the seed, but God grants the increase.” If the Pirates can make it to the post-season after 21 years then anything’s possible for delayed hopes and dreams.

Tip: Getting your number called is more than the luck of the draw. It’s also about planting and watering seeds for an increase after the thaw.

Answer: Ann Curry of NBC News

Valerie Harper Keeps Defying the Odds One Day at a Time

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Trivia: Who will play the lead role in the “Gabby Douglas Story” set for 2014 on Lifetime? (Answer below)

How about that Valerie Harper? Here’s someone who received a terminal diagnosis nine months ago. She was given three to six months because of the cancer she was battling. Recently Doctors updated her health status. Her cancer is not gone but at bay. Valerie Harper keeps defying the odds one day at a time.

Good old Rhoda from the 70s sitcom ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ is one of this season’s contestants on Dancing with the Stars. At first she was concerned about taking on such a challenge. Many Doctors now agree that exercise is good for cancer patients. Plus, dance practice keeps her mind off the condition.

Harper says life gives us the opportunity to dance. She’s doing all she can to live in the moment. Harper is an inspiration to patients and staff alike. The Doctors say it’s hard to explain the revised prognosis. Even though treatment involves attacking the cancer at the source, it can return at any time.

Maybe Harper’s story is serving out a higher purpose. In our daily grind we all strive to live out our life’s purpose. But sometimes life throws us a curve ball that brings some pain. Getting past the pain and seeing the silver lining shows us the higher purpose. This higher purpose points us to the life Source.

For Harper the Electric Slide would have been enough. But she will have to work on her cha-cha and ballroom moves. Baseball hall-of-famer Yogi Berra once said “it’s not over until the fat lady sings.” Maybe Harper’s legacy will inspire others to see that “it’s not over until your life’s purpose makes you dance.”

Tip: For athletes and non-athletes alike, seeing the silver lining in life is about getting past the pain and arriving at the higher purpose.

Answer: Imani Hakim who plays Tonya from “Everybody Hates Chris”

Lamar Odom Puts a Kink in the Image of ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’

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Trivia: What Burger Shop is raising its starting salary to $15/hour? (Answer below)

The rumors have been swirling for weeks. Many were about whether NBA star Lamar Odom was having problems at home. Then it seems things shifted to talk of drug abuse. Meanwhile, back at the Kardashian ranch, the family has been fairly quiet. Odom seems to put a kink in the image of the Kardashians.

Magic Johnson tweeted his best wishes. Maybe former Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irving is hoping Odom can get back on track. Irving has bounced back from past setback in his life. The news is that Odom checked into rehab. Hopefully he spends enough time reviewing the 12-step program.

While Odom is dealing with marriage confidentiality others are working through some uncertainty. Maybe it’s about keeping up their skills, keeping up with the next career move or keeping up with their dreams. It’s hard to know if a 12-step program exists for these issues. But the ‘Invisible Man’ always has a plan.

There was the TV show back in the ‘70s where the lead actor became invisible to test a new invention. Those who knew the deal would track his steps as doors opened, things moved and danger was avoided. The process that made him invisible got stuck and his team had to work on making it un-stuck.

At times we can find ourselves feeling stuck. Follow the lead of the ‘Invisible Man.’ Take steps in the direction of the invisible hand. Watch doors get opened, obstacles flipped and meltdown be avoided. If we heard Magic Johnson right, God has a way of moving things out of the way so we can see a brighter day.

Tip: The ‘Invisible Man’ always has a plan for getting un-stuck by simply moving things out of the way.

Answer: Moo Cluck Moo (Seriously!)

Diana Nyad Showed What it Takes to Step into Your Breakthrough

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Trivia: Who is the most recent Hollywood actress to become hitched? (Answer below)

Diana Nyad did something most can’t imagine pulling off. She swam from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. The 100+ miles stretch took close to 53-hours to complete. This was her fifth attempt after the first time 35-years ago. With all the challenges she faced Nyad achieved a feat that’s gonna be hard to beat.

She made it through with the motto ‘find a way.’ At the end Nyad shared a personal message. “Never give up; you’re never too old to chase your dreams; teamwork makes the dream work.” They’re words to live by for the long-term jobless, everyday worker and budding entrepreneur to step into your breakthrough.

Some experts say it was her physical fitness. Others say her mental toughness. Nyad had that and more going for her as she was able to ‘trust and believe hard.’ She believed hard in her abilities and training. She trusted hard in her team’s support and advice. Even when all else fails, trust and believe God hard.

The way to ‘trust and believe hard’ is like how a car tire handles pressure. When you drive for a long time the air gets hot and the tire expands. If more passengers enter the car the tire’s surface area spreads. Therefore, it makes greater contact with the road. This might explain why it feels like a smoother ride.

Nyad’s ‘trust and believe’ stance gave strength to maintain her composure the same way a tire handles pressure. She had to ditch past attempts due to adverse conditions. But this time (as God would have it) the stars lined-up so that the weather, wildlife and waves behaved. This made for a shore to shore finish.

Tip: On any given day you can ‘find a way’ knowing there’s no need to sweat it because you believe in yourself, no need to panic when God’s in it!

Answer: Scarlett Johansson