True Champions Beyond the Game

On February 4, 2018 many Americans watched an amazing Super Bowl game. Talking to many people before the game they rooted for the underdogs simply because that’s what they were called. They just didn’t want to see the Patriots win again.

Honestly, I did not know much about the Eagles and the stories I saw on television didn’t focus on what I thought was the real story. For me, the real story started when the coach was on the podium and was asked to what he attributed his journey, he did not waiver to give credit to his Savior Jesus Christ. Then two team members, including Nick Foles, also gave glory to God.

They were such an inspiration to me. We live in a day and age where Christianity is frowned upon and even in some cases, people are brought to court for their beliefs. None of these men hesitated with their statements.

 

In this video clip, the players talk about their journey of faith as players working together and how they have shared their faith with teammates. They just don’t talk about it, they are living it out in the locker room and on the field. They aren’t pushy with fellow players, but won’t hide it either. It is not a divisive thing in the locker room. I love the way they encourage couples to study the Bible together.

 

When I watched the clip I heard some important ideas. They challenge themselves to always see the bigger picture and who they really live for each day. They aren’t without challenges in their personal lives and they lean on each other while encourage themselves to support each other both on and off the field.

Carson Wentz was so supportive of Nick Foles, even though Nick took his place. His life goes beyond football.  He lives out what he says he believes in. He has even set up a foundation to support one of the missions he believes. Many other players have their own ways to give support to the community as a way of living out their faith.

I loved the portion of the video where I saw players kneel on the field. They aren’t afraid to let fans know where their heart belongs. I have noticed other teams do this at times and that is a bold faith. A faith we are all called to have.


Many other players have their own ways to give support to the community as a way of living out their faith.


 

I loved the stories before the game of players on other teams that also have made a tremendous impact on their communities. JJ Watt is one of those players. His goal was to raise $200,000 for hurricane victims. Instead, he raised $37 million. What a testimony!

What about you? Still thinking of ways to live out your faith? It’s never too late and this country is in need of more stories like this.

Looking at the nightly news reminds me that this world could use a little more faith. If it isn’t a sex scandal dominating the news, it is a mass shooting. Yesterday was a terrible shooting close to where my grandchildren live. How many more of these can we take? Isn’t it time to turn that around? Communities need hope and help.

I have mentioned so many times before, retirement is a great time to invest in other lives and agencies. I say  from personal experience.

But don’t wait until you retire. It can be a very rewarding experience.

As a country let us focus on positive stories. We have pulled together in recent natural disasters and there are so many unsung heroes. Yesterday’s shooting was another example of how a community worked together in the face of tragedy. They did their best and responded so quickly to the call.

My heart and prayers are with those families. My prayer is also for some way to help stop this violence. We need more people like this football team that reach out to their communities. We all can help.

Til next time,

 

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Dare to Dream God-sized Dreams

Despite the frigid air outside, this first month of the year has been incredibly busy. Like the title of my blog, LifePartThree, my life is filled with new activities.

Books I have been reading by Pastor Mark Batterson and Allen Arnold have inspired me to dream bigger. Some people at my age have just slowed down, but for me that doesn’t work.

Last time I wrote about doing life with God this year, and I have to say I am enjoying it. I remind myself every morning to start my day that way and now it is becoming a habit.

Books, books, and more books!

Reading Mark Batterson’s books  has made one thing clear – as a Christian we need to dream big. He was not talking about dreaming for material things.

Dreaming with God means life will change. I believe to change you need to be teachable. Books help me do that. The Bible is my anchor for the day, but I also read constantly. I know the only way to be a better writer is to read great books and to study how they write.

Retirement doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t work. Some people choose not to ever work again, and others try to pursue something different. I was amazed when I got the AARP Bulletin (January/February 2018), it was all about older people changing careers long after turning 50. The article included people who became anything from a physician to a fitness trainer. Several had to go back to school or went for the first time. Some were even told it was impossible but proved them to be wrong. They all are happy with their choices.


What is something you wanted to do earlier in life that you just didn’t try? It is never too late to try.


I can relate to that. My teaching career started when I was 35 because I chose to raise a family first. In my late fifties I totally changed my classroom teaching by engaging in online communities and learning from them.  I presented at a state conference and began doing workshops with a co-teacher. During this time I also became proficient in my technology skills and changed from classroom teaching to being the technology teacher for the district. That was my dream job. It was a bold move and I loved every minute of it.

Since retiring I have tried many other new things and life has been busy. According to Batterson  dreaming God-sized dreams requires imagination and will be something you can’t do on your own. It is risky and people will advise you not to do it.

When I started dabbling in writing novels I knew it would be hard. The process of getting a story with a beginning and an end is not easy. That is only one step in the process. That’s why people give up.

What are your dreams? Batterson says we need to keep praying for God to help us realize our dreams. In one of my favorite books The Traveler’s Gift they talked about people giving up on dreams because of impatience. Don’t give up.

The opportunities out there are amazing. A local church can offer opportunities to grow in faith. There are groups to do just about anything from dancing to quilting. I have friends who play pickle ball and love it. But those things are activities to keep us busy.

Dare to dream. What is something you wanted to do earlier in life that you just didn’t try? It is never too late.

Colonel Sanders started Kentucky Fried Chicken at the age of 65. Grandma Moses started painting at 76. John Glenn went out in space at 77. The list could go on and on.

You don’t have to do something big. But things like mentoring or reading in a school can make a huge difference in someone’s life while enriching your own. Just passing on the legacy of reading can change a life. Use your imagination and make a difference!

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A New Way to Approach the New Year

Every new year I start by making resolutions. You probably do too. Seems like it is always the same and by February I have broken most of them. This year I have a new approach.

Last year, I wrote and self-published my novel As Angels Sing. With it I experienced what life as an author would be. I love writing and I wish I had started earlier, but I know that this book and the others I am working on really come from my faith journey. When I sit down to write I feel inspired by the spirit within.

Everyone has a story to share. Our lives are a story. But I wonder how many people are trying to do life alone without faith? I look back at my life and see periods where God wasn’t the center of my life. Those were the times life was the hardest. I was always striving to achieve and perform for other people. Life was busy but I really wasn’t happy. I ended up as a single mom and my life was empty until I went back to my faith.

When life gets out of control most people turn to God. I was no exception. But he brought me peace during the most difficult of times.

My teaching career and my family were truly gifts from God. Now writing has been something he has put on my heart. I want to leave a written legacy of my journey so others can learn from it.

The new year is the perfect time for anyone, young or old to invite God to be the center of life. Instead of trying to do life alone, do it with God. Being a Christian doesn’t mean life will be easy, but it does mean you will not be alone.

When I attended the ACFW (American Christian Writers) conference in September, I took a workshop on CHAOS. My life has been like that at times. The presenter (Allen Arnold) wrote a book called the story of WithIt may be hard for some people to understand because it is an allegory, but the premise has changed my thinking. What if each day you asked God to do the day with you instead of just listing all your needs?

Our church is doing something called My One Word. I chose the word with because the main character in my book had Proverbs 3: 5-6¹ as her life verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.[a]

Most of my life has followed that verse not noticing that one word – with. Life doesn’t always make sense. That is why we need to do life with God. The journey so far has taken me places I never thought I would or even could go. He is very creative.

So what dreams are you dreaming? What resolutions do you want to keep? What are you having difficulty with? He is ready to help with your career, your family, your marriage or just your soul. It’s not about doing things for him, it’s about doing life with him.

Don’t face this New Year alone. Open the only book that has been a best seller for over 2,000 years – the Bible.  Begin doing life with God. Open your heart to him. He’s waiting. He loves you and will never let you down!


The journey so far has taken me places I never thought I would  or even could go. He is very creative.


My wish for you this year is that you will use this approach for life and find much happiness and fulfillment this year.♥♥♥

 

¹Bible Gateway, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs 3%3A5-6.

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Are We All Homeless?

My husband and I couldn’t wait for the movie Same Kind of Different as Me to come out. I reviewed the book last year and really enjoyed it. It got me thinking so much about homeless people.

The movie was based on the book and didn’t focus on the parts of the book I would have, yet the story was just as powerful. The director chose what to emphasize and that was the homeless man. His story and how his life was changed by the one persistently caring woman is a lesson for us all.

This is a true story and by choosing to care about one homeless man, so many lives were changed and I am not talking about just the homeless. I can’t give away what happens to the characters, you will need to read the book or watch the movie. I also need to give you a spoiler alert-bring tissues.

There were some key messages for us all. Kindness can change lives. These characters helped each other to be better people. Sometimes we don’t immediately see how what we do affects others, both good and bad.  A smile can change a person’s day. Not judging people by appearance or their life situation can help those less fortunate.

I have to admit, being around homeless people seems a bit scary. I know from personal contact at our church rummage sale, they are not all friendly. But what I have come to realize is they are just like me. I’m probably not friendly when just going to a sale. The same must be for those served in a soup kitchen or homeless center. Until we have a relationship established, we aren’t friendly. Relationships take time.

In the movie some of characters tell their tragic stories. Grief, job loss, illness or a number of life events often started a series of events that went out of control.

I understand that. Life has tossed me a few curves and faith was the only thing that kept me going.

Do you realize that when Jesus started his ministry, he was homeless? He never worried where he was going to sleep or what he would be eating. Think about it – he walked everywhere, too. That had to be difficult.


He said we are all homeless.


Denver made a statement that was so powerful and really got me thinking. He said we are all homeless. As a Christian, I believe that to be true. My home really is my heavenly home.

How about you? How do you feel about his statement? Makes you really think doesn’t it.

The Christmas season is here. Think about where Jesus was born. He wasn’t born in what was considered a home. His life wasn’t about things. It was always relationship.

Let the Christmas season be a time to help those less fortunate. In the movie, love and compassion changed the lives of so many people. The best part about it is in giving we receive so much more. Ready to receive some blessings?

 

 

 

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Do you have blinders on?

My husband and I attended a new church recently and I found the message delivered by this young pastor really spoke to my heart. He described how on a recent group mission trip to Detroit the group passed a homeless man on the street while traveling to their destination. They didn’t stop and that weighed on them all. It was like they had blinders on. The next day they made sure they had food in the van to give out if they passed needy people again. His question was – Do we go through life with blinders on and only focus on our own agenda?

Thinking about what he said, I had to question myself. How many times do I pass people who could use some help, but don’t see them? Maybe I do see them and ignore them. Maybe stopping would change a life.

I am not saying that we shouldn’t be safe. Safety is an issue. But the Bible is pretty clear about helping the hungry and the needy. Someone in one of my Bible studies said give them the money and let God take it from there.

Maybe it is not a question of passing someone on the street. I began thinking about opportunities I have to help people and I don’t.


Maybe stopping would change a life.


Retirement does leave time to do the things I love. Even though I already volunteer during the week, I decided to be open to anything different. It didn’t take long to find a need.

A dear widowed friend was telling me about how the person who was supposed to paint his house didn’t show up. Before he can sell it, the painting needs to be done and it was very upsetting. Since it is already almost the end of October, time is getting short. Although I don’t paint (I wear too much of it), my husband does. We decided to help out. I packed pictures and my husband painted. Boy, was it appreciated and really helped out.

As Christians we are called to serve others. Sometimes we see a need and don’t help because of the inconvenience. What if our friends did that to us?

My cancer wasn’t convenient for me or my working friends, but they were there for me. I didn’t need to ask.

What if more people took time during their hectic lives to reach out to those in need. I don’t mean just at shelters or agencies. If you’ve never volunteered, that might be a good place to begin.

It might be as simple as visiting that widow down the street. Do you know how alone she feels? Or how about raking her leaves? Simple enough. Could be just sit and have a cup of coffee. What would that take?

Making an effort to do one thing a month would be a great start. How about it? The world could should use it.

 

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Where are your pictures?

Today is my grandson’s 18th birthday and I couldn’t be prouder. He has turned into such a wonderful young man. We have enjoyed watching him grow, but I have to admit time has passed too quickly. Check it out below this post.

I have been going through pictures for weeks and made a quick slide show to highlight his life. It made me think about pictures in boxes.

Why do we just take pictures and put them in boxes? Or we leave them in the digital world without ever doing anything with them.

I used to make scrapbooks of pictures from our trips. Now we just take them, post them to Facebook and we’re done. Sometimes they stay in the camera and we don’t do a thing with them. We have gone to some great places and I wonder why we don’t do anything with the pictures.

We visited our friend yesterday because her mom passed away. She was getting ready for the post graveside family event. There was a table full of pictures. Some were those old kind that were faded and yellow. Most of them were not dated or labeled with names.

Although my friend spent quality time with her mom, those pictures are all that is left. Now she wishes they were labeled.

One of the best things you can do for your family is leave photos with labels. It is part of the legacy you leave. I wish I had labels on the back of my own photos or my grandmother’s that I have in a box.

It is never too late to start!

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Answered Prayers

 

We prayed as a nation over a week ago, and today I was reminded of another important event. The September 11 attack on the twin towers was also a horrible thing to watch. But our nation pulled together during all the events. Those lost have not been forgotten.

The hurricane situations over the past couple of weeks have cause us all to be alarmed. The devastation and destruction of lives and communities has caught our attention.

One good thing that has happened is that people are working together to help others. People are praying for communities. We have so many people sending money and supplies. Others are giving of their time.

Although alarming numbers of people were asked to evacuate in Florida, it was done ahead of time for safety issues. Watching the storm on the Weather Channel made it clear that residents needed to move. The governor and the agencies involved have done an outstanding job.

My family is safe, but without power. It was a rough week. The debris and power lines in the streets will take quite a while to fix, but lives were saved by advance planning. The governor stressed things can be replaced, your family can’t.

Storms pass, but the destruction remains. We need to continue to pray for all those affected and we also need to be thankful for the prayers that God answered. May he continue to help these areas heal and rebuild.

Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

America has pulled together again to help those in need. I will continue to pray and give thanks for all those give of themselves without expecting anything in return. They have worked around the clock. Words can not express the gratitude we all feel. 

 

 

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Prayers for Recovery

prayerThis past week has been heartbreaking as the hurricane hit Houston and the surrounding areas. So much loss and devastation for so many.

Last time I talked about our nation needing prayer. Tomorrow has been declared a day of prayer. For those who can’t volunteer or give money, as I said before we can pray.

My hope has been renewed by some of the stories I have heard. In addition of so many people taking their boats to the area to help or helping others by making human chains to cross the waters, the story of the athletes collecting money was amazing. If you haven’t read about J.J. Watt’s fundraiser YouCaring.com , you need to do it. It will fill you with hope.

The other agencies helping are too many to list. That fact makes me happy.

Many stories show the goodness of people. I am glad they put their differences aside. No political parties, no holding grudges, just people helping people in need. That’s what God wanted us to do.

These pictures bring back memories of what happened to our community in the flood of 1972. I didn’t lose my home, but the water in the creek behind our mobile home almost overflowed. Our business was hit hard because it was in downtown Elmira. The city did rebuild. The memories don’t go away and I feel for the people in Houston. I do know.

Tomorrow is a day of prayer for them. I will be praying that the help will continue to pour in for as long as it takes and everyone who needs it will receive it in a timely manner.

Let’s pray America!

 

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Learning to let go

Our Pastor gave a sermon on forgiveness and letting go recently. Of course, he was talking about national problems and historical events where the wounds have never healed and bitterness grows. Why do people keep those old wounds alive?

Why is the focus so much on what is wrong in this world and not how to make it better. I hurt for all those who have lost loved ones because someone felt wounded and lashed out.

The pictures of the damage from the hurricane remind me of all the help that is needed. People have lost everything. Let’s focus on them instead and stand together as a nation.

The Bible is full of struggles of power and the violence used to gain that power. Today we still have groups using evil means to gain power. My heart cries out to people whose lives are impacted by this. All those people forced to leave their homes and live in another country. Europe is full of people who had to leave their country. How do they let go of the pain if Jesus is not in their life?

My life has not been struggle free but learning to let go actually set me free. It didn’t happen overnight and I needed to turn it over to God.

Ironically, after coming home from hearing the sermon I had to practice what I heard. It wasn’t easy to let go of harsh words, but bitterness would settle in if I didn’t.

How about you? Is there something you need to let go of?

Our nation has turned to so much violence and protests.  Each time I see a protest, I am reminded of the story of Ruby Bridges. If you have not seen the movie or read the book, a lot can be learned from Ruby’s experience as a 1st grader integrating into an all white school in the south. Despite the fact that she was a child, she was treated unfairly and cruelly by adults. Each day as she was escorted by the United States Marshals through the hostile crowd outside her school, she stopped to pray for them. Her faith was inspiring and she was more forgiving than the adults living during that difficult time.

For those that are retired, spend time each day praying for our country and for revival. Pray for people who are in that awful storm and have lost so much. Pray for our leaders.

One of my favorite apps is IF 7:14. Each day it gives you two quick prayers for our country and for revival. You get alerts to help you remember to pray. You can even add your own prayer.

Prayer is the only answer if we really want change.

 

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Sower Part Two

Last time I posted about sowing seeds like Jesus did. Since then I have seriously looked for opportunities. I’ll admit, it isn’t easy. Living in a small community doesn’t give me much opportunity especially because I don’t work anymore. I spend most of my time home doing my writing.

My early days as a Christian had me thinking  I needed to go to a risky part of the community and evangelize. Although they do need Jesus desperately, walking up to them wouldn’t be the safest thing to do. I also don’t think that is the best way to plant seeds.

Right now I am people watching. My years of studying have taught me that all people have some kind of brokenness. We don’t always like to admit it, but we all do. The voids in our lives are meant to be there. God intended to fill the void through relationship with him.

Now I am trying to look at people through God’s Eyes. What would that look like? This video might give a good idea. (If it will not open click here)

 

Still think there are no places to sow seeds? Look around you. People are hurting everywhere. We just walk past them in our busyness. If everyone reached out to just one person, it would make a difference.

In Andy Andrews book called The FINAL SUMMIT the world is in a terrible mess. Sounds all too familiar. This book was fun to read, but it has the same message as the Bible. We each have the ability and responsibility to do something. We can’t do it alone, but things are not going to change until we all start doing something.

Michael Jackson had the right idea back in the 80’s. First he started a movement to help with famine when he got a group of artists together to sin We Are The World. We are God’s children who can make a difference by our choice to do something.

Have you started yet? Maybe there is some group out there you can join where you can have more of an opportunity to “do something.” You’ll never know how many lives can be changed by touching one life.

I know as a Compassion partner, when I sponsor a child in another country it also helps his whole family and community. They also bring the gospel to them. I love writing my child letters about my own faith.

So many ways to help. This world needs more love and they need Jesus more than ever!

 

 

 

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