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Do You Have Your Nikes on?

Do You Have Your Nikes on?

Do You Have Your Nikes on?

When running in the race of life, what kind of shoes is on your feet? Are they high-heeled stilettos, loafers, house slippers, or tennis shoes? While we may be concerned with what is on our feet and how comfortable they are in the situation, if we don’t have the right type of shoes on, we may not succeed.

I mean, a runner doesn’t wear a pair of wrestling shoes if he is running a marathon. He wears the most appropriate running shoe that will go the distance. When you prepare to run, one of the first things you do is stretch to warm your muscles. If not, your body isn’t prepared for what you are about to do.

But what about the race of life? There are many things, which come up for which we may not be prepared. You may be stressed out, suffering, and not know how to handle the situation. But, there is HOPE. Hope that you can overcome whatever you are facing and be victorious.

As my pastor, Randy Gilmore, says, “Hope is confidence in present resources and ultimate good.” The word, Nike, is Greek for ‘victory’ or ‘overcoming’. In the race of life, I want to have my Nikes on. For those of you who have heard one of my motivational presentations and me talk about my “shoe issues” when I tried out for the girls’ basketball team in eighth grade (I couldn’t find shoes big enough to fit me in the women’s section, so I had to go the men’s shoe area to find a pair), guess what tennis shoes I picked out? A new white pair of Nike hightops with a red swoosh. Though I didn’t know if I would make the team, I had hope in wearing my Nike tennis shoes as I was prepared to do my best.

In the middle of life’s storms where you may feel stretched, stressed out, are suffering, or something else may be going on in your life, Hope lifts our spirits as we go through the storm. God has generously provided a way to carry you through it. Having hope protects our minds, like a helmet.

Hope provides us with a way out of our struggle and shields us, like an umbrella. Hope lifts our spirits from the storms in life, which may be dampened. Hope is having your Nikes on when facing your situation, as we are overcomers and victorious. There is power in hope!

Here are three thoughts to keep in mind when running in the race of life:

1. Look for hope in your present resources.
2. Surround yourself with friends and family who support you.
3. Seek guidance and assistance from others who can help you along your journey to reach the finish line.

Be victorious and have your Nikes on!

By Darcy Keith

Meditation: But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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Mentor, Teacher, Friend and A Jedi Warrior

Mentor, Teacher, Friend and A Jedi Warrior

Mentor, Teacher, Friend and A Jedi Warrior

Once upon a time not far away lived a young boy named, Gary. Now this young boy dreamed of being a Jedi Warrior just like in the Star War Movies. He was not aware of his own powers within himself, nor was he aware that later on in years he would be transformed and mentored by many worthy elders as a young child and adult. Oh, how he dreamed of using his “light-saver” to fight for his honor and help the various Galactic Republics here on earth.

The quiet and somewhat shy Gary watched many Star War movies and collected various memorabilia throughout his younger years. His great challenge was collecting all of the Star War hero autographs and photos. He accomplished his feat all but one, Luke Skywalker played by Mark Hamill.

After 20 years, Gary finally received his most beloved autograph. As Gary waited in line for Mark’s autograph the announcement that no more autographs would be taken. Gary leaped to the head of the line and placed photo of young Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in the hands of Mark Hamill. “Please sign this as I’ve been waiting years for this!” Mark looked surprised and said, “Is this for your son?” Gary replied, “No, it’s for me, I’ve been waiting 20 years.”

Photos were taken of Gary and Mark to confirm that he did sign the photo. Gary so rejoiced in this goal. His patience, ability to continue his dream helped him obtain the dream come true. Was it worth it? Definitely yes! As a youth, Gary dreamed and hoped of becoming a Jedi Warrior. His dream has come true.

Gary is now a Toastmaster International First Vice President. The powers within himself have developed throughout the years of developing leadership skills and being mentored along the way by many fine leaders. He has fought one of the greatest battles within himself and that is shyness. As the story goes, Luke Skywalker becomes a stronger because of his faithful friends and leaders throughout the galaxy; so did Gary. They saw something that Gary couldn’t immediately see, a potential leader.

Yes, Gary is one of my cherished friends. He shares his knowledge and leadership skills with all that wants to know how to develop their leadership talents. I’ve known Gary since 1999 when we were in the Toastmaster International District Officer Training, as I call it “young Jedi’s in training.” Like Gary, through our own ambitious talents and leadership apprenticeship we are becoming the leaders for tomorrow. We need more individuals like Gary to be committed and be a visionary dreamer that makes dreams come alive.

Gary’s skills as a district leader and then two years as an International Director have given him the opportunities of a lifetime. Yet, Gary now continues to dream beyond his own dreams as a young child. He is now in line for one of the highest achievements within Toastmasters, the title of President of Toastmasters International. I see Gary leading and mentoring new leaders worldwide. I do know Gary’s leadership goes far beyond Toastmasters! I’m so proud of my friend Gary! For myself, I see another side of Gary, and that is one of honor and respect. Though shy, he is respected for his wisdom.

What can I say, but, “May the Lord Be With You!”

By Rosie Johnson-Tsosie

Meditation: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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Winning the Race

Winning the Race

Winning the Race

Defeat! He lay there silently, a tear dropped from his eye,
“There’s no sense running anymore – three strikes and I’m out – why try?”
The will to rise has disappeared, all hope had fled away,
so far behind, so error-prone, closer all the way.

“I’ve lost, so what’s the use”, he thought “I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad who soon he’d have to face.
Get up, and the echo sounded low, get up and take your place.
You were not meant for failure here, so get up and win the race.
With Borrowed will, “Get up!”, It said, “You haven’t lost at all,
for winning is not more than this, to rise each time you fall.”

So he rose to win once more, and with the new commitment he resolved to win
or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,
still, he gave it all he had and ran as though to win.
Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.

They cheered the winning runner as he crossed.
First place, head high and proud and happy, no falling, no disgrace.
But when the fallen youngster crossed the line, last place,
the crowd gave him the greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last, with head bow low, unproud.
You would have thought he won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well”.
“To me, you won,” his father said, “you rose each time you fell.”

And now when things seem dark and hard and difficult to face,
the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
“Quit! Give up you’re beaten,” they will shout in my face.
But another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race!”

– Author Unknown

Meditation: If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, Till my change comes. – Job 14:14

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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Things in Life that Bring Lasting Fulfillment

Things in Life that Bring Lasting Fulfillment

Things in Life that Bring Lasting Fulfillment

I write this with a cup of hot chocolate (+ a hint of Bailey’s) by my side, the girls at school, my notebook resting on my lap and the challenge of sharing this last year before me. As I look out my living room window, heavily faded grays, browns, and whites, reflect back. Only the boldness of red from ribbons on Christmas wreathes and on the coats of Nutcracker soldiers’ stands out. It looks arctic outside. The white that covers the ground is both ice and snow and the high today will be 10°.

If I believe what I see, there is little life. There is hardly a movement. There is no warmth. The trees are bare, the lake frozen, and the wind still. It is quiet in my home and I am reminded of the barrenness of this season. Winter has come and I am in the middle of it. In these moments, my heart stirs. Sadness wants to come in. Quiet begins to engulf me. Worry tries to trickle into my thoughts. My eyes tell me coldness is all there is. It has conquered towering trees and froze expansive waters and land. My eyes tell me this is life or rather, this is how life is defeated.

So I close my eyes. My heart longs for more. My heart has always longed for more. “God, show me what I cannot see.” With a richer desire, I open my eyes. Some of the same images appear but my stirred heart now notices the sled trail on the lawn where just the night before I pulled Shaelah and Sofia up a small self-made hill. I can see the run over snow angels and places where Sofie picked icicles off and enjoyed nature’s popsicles. I see Shaelah’s boot prints and become aware that they are closer to my size than they are to a child’s.

As I look further out, the frozen lake and shoreline remind me of this year’s road trips and our mini vacations in search of the perfect pool or beach. Spring break took us to Arizona where the girls discovered the small flags attached to pool lounge chairs, poolside service, and Shirley Temple drinks. Memories of our days at Lake Holiday or North Avenue beach this summer return. These girls are fish in water and connoisseurs of sandcastle tools. I can clearly see in my mind the mounds of shells they have collected over time and realize they have saved a piece of every beach we have ever been to together.

It now begins to snow. I kid you not. God’s timing is perfect. As snow begins to cover the ground more, I remember our road trip to Sparta, Missouri. Gratitude overwhelms me when I think of profound friendships that would take the girls and I so far. I smile at the memory of standing in untouched nature, watching a mare and her colt galloping through open acreages and feeling the earth move beneath us. Seeing a beautiful strong mare leading her own, captures the heart of a mother. It took my breath away.

Tears are welling up in my eyes now as my heart feels like the luckiest woman in the world. I realize that the life the girls and I live is a good one. We are healthy, happy, loved and love. When the girls crawl into bed with me, I know that I have everything I need right beside me. God has always taken care of us. Always.

My takeaway this year? “Do not believe solely in what the eyes see.” There is great abundance in life and we are blessed beyond what the economy, our businesses, and our trials try to tell us. If we still ourselves long enough to close our eyes, our hearts tell us that there are only a few things in life that have meaning for eternity and bring lasting fulfillment. Look for those things and life becomes alive again and again and again!

by Tania Kinzinger

Meditation: While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.2 Corinthians 4:18

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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Wings to My Dreams

Wings to My Dreams

Wings to My Dreams

That next heartbeat, that’s what we pray for. We are the medically challenged. We are the ones who keep our medical appointments because we must. To miss that appointment is just unthinkable. We are the ones who stand, or wheel, or linger between each heartbeat, hoping for new medications or praying for a cure. Most of us pray every day. We cling to a merciful God whom we are certain will give us that next heartbeat.

Please do not feel pity, for we have learned to rejoice in each moment that we are alive. We memorize sunsets and sunrises, and we celebrate the smiles and nuances of the ones we love. We are captivated by life. We revel at each new bird that stops by to visit our feeders, even the starlings, the pigeons, the sparrows and the doves. In the mountains, we feel blessed to see the bluebird, the indigo bunting, the woodpecker, and the thrush. In the south near the ocean, we rejoice over the plumage of the flamingoes, with their hot pink wings, and we have committed to memory the piercing cries of the pelican and the gull. Flowers thrill us, no matter their scent, shade or hue. Nothing delights us more than the sight of spring’s promise bursting forth from its long winter’s rest, petals lifting their heads and reaching for the rain and sun.

We sometimes need assistance, and some of us are blessed to have family and friends who are willing to haul the potting soil, build raised beds, and make a wonderland of colorful blooms, just so that we can watch from our window and marvel at their beauty. We survivors of life look back occasionally at our healthy days, and often we regret the times that we wasted on worry, depression, anger, and fear. So, many of us have gone beyond fear, to a brave new world of hope.

We are thankful for every new medication that has not only extended our lives but has improved its quality. We would not be here, celebrating, without the miraculous drugs available today. We would not want to miss a single moment of our lives.

We have discovered that we can still grow and change. We have learned to love more and laugh more, and, frankly, life is worth it. How could it not be?!

Just this year, in spite of record-breaking winter lows that left me shivering, and now, into a cold and windy spring all the tiny twigs that I planted six years ago have thrived, and they are bursting into bloom. Through sunshine and shadow, they have triumphed over the clay and rock-strewn ground that I, laughingly, call soil.

I have many reasons to be thankful, and each day I like to number a few. Sometimes the list becomes so long that I just have to sit and marvel at a God who provides so many reasons for me to celebrate life. I have dreamed of writing stories, all my life, and reaching the hearts and minds of others throughout the world. This dream would not have been possible until a few years ago when the internet exploded into a place of instant communication and friendship.

I am thankful for the stories of my life that have been guided by a loving God who holds the outcome of every possibility in His hand. These connections through his grace have given feet to my thoughts and wings to my dreams.

by Jaye Lewis

Meditation: Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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A Perspective on Disappointment

A Perspective on Disappointment

A Perspective on Disappointment

While I was pondering about life, I discovered that: Sometimes, to succeed in life you need enemies! Yes!

You need people who will mock you so that you can run to God.

You need people who will try to intimidate you so that you can be courageous.

You need people who will say “NO” so that you can learn how to be independent…how to do it yourself.

You need people who will disappoint you so that you can put all your trust in God alone.

You need people who will work towards you losing that job so that you can start your own business.

You need people who will sell your ‘Joseph’ so that ‘he’ can get to Egypt.

You need a cruel landlord so that you won’t be too comfortable in someone else’s house, then you can build your own house on time.

But sometimes, when we are disappointed, we feel very bad and we tend to remain on that spot. Not knowing that the endpoint of disappointment is the beginning of your accomplishments.

Understand this, every disappointment you once had came with a blessing. However, it is not everyone that partakes in this blessing.

You cannot see a newly opened door while you are still putting all your attention, time and energy into trying to force the closed one to open.

No disappointment ever comes without an attached blessing. So, when disappointment comes, thank God for it and tell Him to open your eyes to see the new blessing that He has packaged in it for you.

Disappointment is Phase 1; accomplishment is Phase 2. I doubt if you can jump the protocol. That is why it is called BREAKthrough. Something must BREAK so that you can go through!

Author Unknown

Meditation: No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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