In a world where every day feels like a repeat, where we are limited in what we can do, who we can see and where we can go, it’s even more crucial to find positivity in every day, and above all: never give up!
This has been part of the motto for Langhorne resident James Henderson for the past 35 years.
“Never give up, quit your crying, live by my motto, keep on trying.”
James came up with the quote for his high school yearbook and has lived by it ever since.
Born with spina bifida, a birth defect where his spinal cord failed to develop properly, the doctors told his parents they had little hope for James to lead a happy and productive lifestyle, but he has done nothing but prove them wrong his whole life.
“I’ve always believed we weren’t born into this world to do everything, but we were born into this world to do at least one thing,” says James. “I’ve been trying to do that one thing.”
For James, this “one thing” is far-reaching and influential: he focuses on motivating and inspiring people.
Four years ago, James launched his own campaign, posting motivational videos weekly on social media along with his creation of the hashtag #MotivateUMonday.
“I thought, ‘I have a voice; I can make a difference.’”
Tired of the often-negative posts he found circulating social media platforms, James curated a positive, uplifting space for people to find incentive and inspiration, posting videos of his workouts and giving motivational insights.
“I get up and get after it [every day],” James says. “I believe if you are positive and happy about at least one thing, if you believe in something, then you can have a good day.”
The clever exercise ideas and routines James shares are things anyone can do from home and are accessible to people of all abilities.
“Growing up, I have always led a very active lifestyle,” James says. He wanted to spread the inspiration he gained from physical therapy exercises, as well as activities he enjoys, like playing wheelchair basketball.
One of the exercises James posted features a homemade barbell built by taping dumbbells to his father’s old cane.
Through his 35 years, James has never backed away from a challenge and leads life with a positive outlook that is truly infectious.
While he has since moved away from using the “MotivateUMonday” hashtag, James continues to share motivational videos and other posts sparked by his passions; beyond exercising, he also loves to cook, write poetry, listen to music and sing.
Most recently, James has focused his attentions on inspiring his grandmother, Ida Rowan, after she suffered two strokes last year.
Ida turned 90 last year and her strokes resulted in hospital stays and time in and out of rehab.
While she was in rehab, James visited and did exercises with her to help her through physical therapy.
“I decided, I’m going to motivate my grandmother,” said James. “Even now that she’s out of therapy, I do exercises with her. Her drive keeps me going.”
James may not be posting every week or using the hashtag right now, but he is still showing people how he’s staying positive in these trying times – something we could all use a double dose of.
Be sure to check out some of his favorite recipes that James has made his own, such as a mac & cheese pizza or Dalgona (a whipped coffee drink popular in Korea), which he made for his family this Mother’s Day using instant coffee, sugar, hot water and milk.
“I have quite an imagination with some of my cooking,” James says.
Whether you’re looking for something to brighten your day, spread positivity, or get you in the mood for some at-home exercise, James offers inspiration to all.
Follow him for his videos and posts on Instagram (@slim_jim020), or on Facebook (find him under Jed Henderson).
“I’ve always thought of helping others, not myself,” said James. “As long as I’ve positively affected the life of one person, that’s all that matters.”