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I like the idea of of examining the rationality in my life. Isn't doing that...rational? My guest this week, John Vespacian, has examined our rationality in great detail over a series of books ( ten by my count) that deal with the application of rationality in our lives. Vespacian draws on history and philosophy to find some applicable methodologies that can be used to insert a higher dose of rationality in our daily lives. Vespacian has a message that is right on target for anyone that struggles with defeating the impulsive behaviors that come from emotional response. Impulsive behaviors are indeed the reason for many behaviors that have landed people in prison. Obviously some emotional responses are good - I'm referring to bad impulsiveness. So, join me for my interview with John Vespacian as he calls in from the Netherlands on this week's edition of Journey of Hope With Rodney Mathers.
If God is for you, who can be against you?

Journey of Hope With Rodney Mathers ( 156)

Hi Everyone,

Every once in while I like to do a podcast with no guest - just me. It's a great feeling to get some things off my chest. Today, it's just me. I had a little situation recently that I wanted to share so here it is.

Remember, if God is for you, who can be against you?

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Hey Yall,

Are you happy with who you are? My guess would be everyone has a hard time honestly answering that question in the affirmative. Seriously, how many of us ex-offenders can say that 100% of the time we are totally happy with who we are? That said, I say, WHY THE HELL NOT? All human beings in our culture compare themselves to other people. Our appearance, our relationships and our general sense of self are all subject to this kind of "grass is always greener over there" sort of mentality. 

Want to stop doing that? I do. 

My guest this week, Susan Bremer O'Neill, has got some great ideas on how to do this. Check out our chat on this week's episode.

Remember, if God is for you, who can be against you?  

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It has been brought to my attention recently that an amazing number of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and woman are products of the foster care system. An organization called Arrow Child and Family Ministries claims their research shows 80% of all incarcerated individuals were at some point in foster care and girls in foster care are 600% more likely to become pregnant before age 21.

I did see some slightly lower percentages in an NPR report and some other places but everywhere I looked in preparation for this week's interview had truly shocking numbers. I'm sure there are some very loving foster care environments that provide an atmosphere to flourish and grow in as well.

However, the assumption can be drawn that there are ex-offenders that have unresolved issues resulting from foster care. That brings me to this week's guest. Shenandoah Chefalo is one of a small percentage of foster care children that actually graduate from college and are able to have successful careers ( most estimates put that number around 3%). Shenandoah has overcome this issue and has written about it in a new book, Garbage Bag Suitcase. She has done her homework and has some thoughts for those of you that are ex-offenders and were foster children.

Always remember, if God is for you, who can be against you?


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Hey Yall!

Even before my trouble with the law and subsequent incarceration, I've wondered about some people's ability to harness an amazing inner strength to endure rough situations. It seems to exist somewhere in all of us. The ability to find that strength can result in absolutely amazing things. There have been three times in my life where I flirted with tapping into that inner strength.

You wouldn't know it to look at me now but in the early 90's I trained for and ran 4 marathons. For four years in a row I went through a training cycle in which I had to find the place in my mind to acquire and maintain the discipline to do the things necessary to run 26.2 miles. I believe running a marathon is more mental than it is physical. I was able to successfully complete 3 Houston Tenneco Marathons and one Dallas White Rock Marathon. Did that strength come from the same place the strength comes from to maintain a job search, fight an addiction, and generally not give up?

A second time I dug deep was during college. I had one semester to get my GPA up high enough to stay on my degree plan and do my student teaching the following semester. I needed to make four A's and one B on 15 hours to reach the goal. This wasn't going to be easy for someone that was damn glad to get a C in a class! I did it. Was that inner strength the same inner strength we need to successfully reintegrate?

The third time I needed to reach deep inside was was when I entered TDCJ., the years I spent there, and when I left TDCJ and faced the realities of post incarceration life. I look back at it all and I have no idea where the strength came from.

My guest this week, Dr. Christopher Friesen, is an expert in helping elite athletes achieve their optimum and I put this question to him:  Where inside of us does this pool of strength reside and how we can access it? It seems to me the ability to do this just may define the success of our reintegration. Dr. Friesen also works with sex offenders in a prison setting and has a good grip on what we deal with as offenders, no matter what our case was about.  Dr. Friesen also talks about his soon to be published book, Achieve: Find Out Who You Are, What You Really Want, and How To Make It Happen.

Remember, If God is for you, who can be against you.



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Do you drive? Of course you do. Driving is such an extension of us and a necessity in our lives that most of us wouldn't be able to survive without it. What if there were a way to turn driving into an exercise that strengthened our personality and improve things our ability to forgive? Well, there just might be way! My guest this week, K. Scott, has written a very interesting book on how to make this possible. His book, Drive Me To Think, addresses how practicing things that patience and forgiveness during driving can empower us. Check out the interview and judge for yourself!
Remember, if God is for you, who can be against you?

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Hi Everyone!

I was looking for art work that is in the public domain for a new single I'm getting ready to release and I saw a picture of a small flower growing through a crack in a huge concrete parking lot. When I saw the picture it reminded of my guest on this episode.
Ling Zhang has overcome a great deal and her story is one I hope you can find a morsel of inspiration to use on your journey through coming home from your incarceration. Ling explains how she was able to overcome immense adversity to grow toward her fullest potential. I do a lot of these sorts of interviews and I have to say, I was inspired by Ling's story. Enjoy the interview!
Check out Ling's new book: Grow to Your Fullest
Remember, if God is for you, who can be against you?

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On this week's episode I speak with author Elizabeth Upton. Elizabeth has great thoughts on self esteem, overcoming stress, and the development of creativity, among other things. She has been a nun, a social worker, an internal affairs investigator, and a probation officer. We cross paths as she practices as a marriage and family counselor for families in crisis.
Elizabeth has a lot of very interesting things to say to ex-offenders and I recommend you check out her web page after listening to the interview. You can get there by clicking here:Elizabeth Upton


Remember, if God is for you, who can be against you!

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Happy New Year!

Hey, did I say we would be back on Tuesday the 5th? I think today is Wednesday the 6th....
The new year is of course the time in which many of us embark on fundamental changes that will enrich our lives. I believe that we must unlearn certain things in order to change. My guest this week believes the same thing and has some ideas on how to go about doing this successfully. 
We have indeed internalized beliefs that are simply holding us back. T J Woodward suggest ways to reach deep into ourselves  and make the necessary adjustments. 
After listening to the interview, check out TJ's book if you feel like this is for you. CLICK HERE FOR BOOK
Remember, if God is for you, who can be against you...

Journey of Hope With Rodney Mathers


We are on our Winter Break! Journey of Hope With Rodney Mathers will return on Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 with more great guests and their suggestions for getting past incarceration and continuing with successful reintegration. 
Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year from all of us here at JOH and we will see you in 2016!