Memories. They can make you smile, laugh and cry. Sometimes memories just make you sit back and reflect. That happened to me this morning, as I scrolled through my Facebook page and a memory from May 13, 2009 jumped out at me. It took me back. On this date in 2009, I went back to work after a month in the hospital and recovery at home. I did not realize at the time that life would never be the same.
As I went back to work that Wednesday morning, I thought things would go back to normal. Little did I realize that my life would never be normal again. Several days after going back to work, I would end up back in the hospital. This scene would play out many times over the next few months. I would work a few days and end up in the hospital for a few weeks. Finally after seeing this Groundhog Day moment several times (Google the movie Groundhog Day), my medical team shared it was time for me to retire and go on disability. Retire? Disability? I was only in my early 40’s. I was not real excited about this new normal. But this new normal was now part of my life. Little did I realize what a crazy beautiful journey God would allow me to experience.
As I have walked this new normal since 2009, I have become a full time Abolitionist, a Missionary and a published Author. I doubt any of my teachers or professors would have ever guessed I would write a book. During this new normal, my faith became so much stronger. My wife Laura and I have experienced so many amazing adventures. I definitely would not have chosen this new normal, but I would not change a thing. My new normal has become a beautiful gift. Thanks Facebook for the memory. ~OC
Good morning! So as I sit in this hospital room, here are some of my prayers and thoughts.
I pray my beautiful bride is resting and wakes up feeling great.
I pray that some dear family and friends who are sick, will experience complete healing.
I pray for all the Caregivers taking care of a loved one.
I pray The Holy Spirit will take over South Florida. Revival come!
I pray I will be the best husband, friend and disciple of Jesus that I can be through Him.
I pray for everyone in the military and all First Responders. And their families.
I pray for peace.
I pray for all the leaders. I pray their hearts and minds would be changed by God.
I pray for the victims of human trafficking. I pray they will be rescued and their lives will be completely restored. I pray for all the organizations fighting this horrible crime. I pray their needs will be met. Most importantly, I pray their hearts and motives are pure.
I pray for all churches, pastors, missionaries and ministries. May they truly be the hands and feet of Jesus.
I pray God will allow me to do more for everyone I come in contact with during the day.
I pray for all the patients, nurses, doctors and staff at Good Sam. Give each the strength they need today.
I pray for our schools, students, teachers, staff and administrators. I pray God would bless and protect each.
I pray I will not get in the way of what God wants to do in my life.
Here are some of the thoughts going through my crazy beautiful mind this morning:
What races will I run in 2020, if God allows me to run again? It has been almost 11 years since I last ran.
If God blesses me with the ability to run again, that means I could return to the workforce. Where would I work? Who would hire a 50 something guy who has not worked in almost 11 years, but has an incredible crazy beautiful story? Would I go on the speaking circuit? Would I look at working at a church or ministry of some kind? Would I work at a school or university? Would I be a Greeter at Walmart?
Yes, those are some of the crazy thoughts that go through my mind a lot of morning’s. I just want to be ready for whatever God has prepared for me. Even if that means never running another race or never being able to return to work, I will be obedient and thankful.
Have a wonderful and blessed day. ~OC
As I watch the news and scroll through social media, I see a lot of pain and injustice in the world. At times it can seem overwhelming. How in the world can I make a difference? Can anybody relate? Even though I cannot do everything, I can do something.
So, I have decided I will continue to stand up and do something. I will Fight.
I will continue have real conversations with other people wanting to truly make a difference in this world. Not just talk about the issues, but take some real action. I will surround myself with others who want to fight. I will continue to get educated. I will continue to listen. I will Fight.
I will continue to take the time to see the pain of others. I will not pass them by with a “I’ll pray for you.” No, I will stop and pray for them in that moment. I will not allow people to walk through their own crazy beautiful journey alone. I will Fight.
I will continue to fight for the victims of human trafficking. I will continue to bring awareness to this horrible crime. I will continue to listen and learn. I will never believe I am an expert. I will continue to speak out. I will fight.
I will continue to fight for civil rights. When I see injustice I will speak up. I will continue to listen and learn. I will take a stand even when it’s not popular. I will fight.
I will continue to share my story and faith. God has blessed me with a story to tell. A story I must tell. I will never be ashamed to proclaim Jesus as my Savior. I will continue to respect the faith of others. I will fight.
I know some of the things I believe in and stand up for are not popular with everyone. That’s okay. I gave up trying to be popular a long time ago. I am more concerned about living a life that is pleasing to God. Living a life of service. I will continue to Fight. ~OC
I have been working to end human trafficking since 2007. Please put this number in your phone. Together we can end human trafficking. ~OC
A few weeks ago, a friend shared I was a Thought Leader. A what I asked? I had heard the term in passing, but really had no idea what it meant. Now someone was referring to me as a Thought Leader. Was this even a good thing to be called? So what is a Thought Leader and how did I become one? If I really am.
Thought Leader-One whose views on a subject(s) are taken to be authoritative and influential.
Wait. What? How was I being referred to as a Thought Leader? So I asked my friend what made me or anyone else a Thought Leader?
My friend shared that my knowledge on the issues of Human Trafficking, Social Justice and Patient Advocacy, had really made them think about those issues. My social media post had helped them start having conversations about these topics. This friend shared my passion for each of these issues came through in my post. Who knew? I just write about things that I am passionate about. I never thought about how my words and post would influence anyone. That got me thinking about this term Thought Leader. Here are a few thoughts that came to mind.
Influence. If you have a social media account or blog, you are influencing someone. When you post something that is positive, negative or indifferent you are influencing someone or some group. What influence is your life having on others?
Responsibility. I believe we are accountable for what we say, post, invest in and write. Our words and choices matter. When I write about issues I am passionate about, I better do my research before posting on my social media pages or blog. I better be ready to take ownership for what I post. To be ready to apologize if my facts are not correct. Did you get that? If my facts are wrong. Not if you don’t agree with the facts or my opinion on an issue.
Keep Learning. I have been referred to as an expert on some subjects. I have never liked being called an expert on any subject or issue. To me, being called an expert means I know everything about that subject or issue. That I no longer need to be a student. But I a student. I am constantly learning new things about Human Trafficking, Social Issues and Patient Advocacy. I believe life is about learning and growing as a person. If someone reading this an expert in some area, this is not an attack on you. I am just sharing my opinion.
So am I a Thought Leader? I believe that’s debatable. But I like the name Though Leader. So I will try to embrace it. For now. ~OC
October is Fair Trade Month. But what is Fair Trade?
The goal of Fair Trade is to help producers in developing countries to get a fair price for their products so as to reduce poverty, provide for the ethical treatment of workers and farmers, and promote environmentally sustainable practices.
So how can you know what your buying is fair trade and not made by slaves? Here are a list of organizations that can help you make better choices when shopping.
Of course there are more organizations and I would encourage you to check them out. If we just take a few minutes to research the products we buy, we can help change the world. ~OC
As we turn on the news, scroll through social media or just walk down the street, we see so many heartbreaking things happening around us. We see and read about homelessness, gun violence, human trafficking and substance abuse. The list could go on and on. We pray about these issues and we ask God to bring help. Not only do we pray, but we demand that our elected officials do something about these and other issues our communities are facing. We cry out to God to please bring someone to help those that are suffering. Oh Dear God, why are you not answering our prayers? Has anyone else but me had these thoughts and prayed these prayers?
Guess what? Sometimes you and I are the answer to the those prayers. Wait, what? That’s right, God wants you and I to help the homeless. God wants you and I to help end gun violence. God wants you and I to help end human trafficking. God wants you and I to help end the substance issues in our communities. God wants you and I to help change our communities. Mind blowing isn’t it? Not really.
God has always used His people to help make the world a better place. A lot of times we are just not listening. Or we cannot believe God could use us to make a difference. But God is looking for us to be His hands and feet. We just have to be willing to stand up and answer the call. Because sometimes God will use you and I to answer our prayers. ~OC
Last night, I had the pleasure of being on my friends podcast Man Up, Already! I would encourage everyone to check out his podcast. Some really great material. Below is a link to my appearance on the podcast. ~OC
I have seen a lot of post and comments about New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft being arrested for soliciting prostitution. What disturbs me, are the post and comments that condone his behavior. The old “Boys Will Be Boys Attitude.” What Mr. Kraft and the other men did is a crime. There are no excuses for his or the other men’s behavior.
I have spent the last 12 years of my life fighting human trafficking. A lot of Massage Parlors are fronts for human trafficking. Most of the women working at these places did not choose this career path. They were promised legitimate jobs when they came to America. They were hoping to make a better life for themselves and their families. Instead their passports were stolen from them and they are forced to service multiple men a day. Some may call it prostitution. I call it rape. The American Dream became the American Nightmare for these victims. So before you decide to make excuses for Mr. Kraft and the other men, think about the stolen dreams of each of the victims. ~OC