Overcomer

Today’s a new day. Let’s talk about this crazy beautiful journey called life. Life can be like a roller coaster. We experience ups, downs, twist and turns. Life can be a wild ride. We experience happiness and pain. Life is filled with laughs and tears. This journey called life can be tough. So today, I want to remind you that you’re a strong overcomer. I wholeheartedly believe this to be true. More importantly, I want you to believe this truth. Often we move through life so caught up in the rigors of life, we forget there is a lot of pain and hardship around us. Maybe you are dealing with a health issue that came out of nowhere. Possibly you have lost your job and are wondering how you will take care of your family. The list could go on and one. As I shared above, you are an overcomer. You got this! Stay in the fight. Never give up. We all face difficulties and challenges events during this crazy beautiful journey. Stay focused. Finish strong. ~OC

Dear Running,

Dear Running,

It is very painful to write these words to you. Running, we have been friends since I was a child. Back then, I loved running through the neighborhood. Not a care in the world. I did not get my drivers license until I was 18 years old because I thought I could just run everywhere. My friends had cars. Why did I need to drive? After high school, you and took a break. We reunited a few times in college, but nothing serious. Just a casual short run every once in awhile. After college you and I drifted apart. Life got busy and I abandoned you. Then in 2003, while having open-heart surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, God spoke to me through a vision and said it was time to reunite with you. Not only to start running again, but to start running marathons. I was under heavy anesthesia, so was this real? Yes indeed, it was real. Not only did God say to start running again, but to share the Gospel through running. Four months after surgery, I started running again. Oh, how nice to see you again old friend. It was like old times. We were back together. One year after my surgery, I completed my first marathon. Oh what a wonderful feeling and experience. As I ran, God gave me the chance to share his amazing love. You and I continued to complete one marathon after another. In 2007, we received a scare when I was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s. My first question to the doctor was “Can I keep on running?” I was overjoyed when the doctor shared I could indeed keep on running. Oh, we had a fun time the next year and a half. In 2008, God blessed me with the opportunity to run a 1,000 miles in one year. We anticipated a wonderful and exciting year of running in 2009. It started off with me completing the Disney Marathon. But something just wasn’t right. Was Parkinson’s starting to come between me and running? We fought hard to stay together. But once again something just wasn’t right. In March of 2009, my body started to betray me. That month, Myasthenia Gravis joined Parkinson’s to wreck my body. They finally broke us up in mid 2009. For the next ten years, I would fight for my life and daydream about you friend. Funny thing about those ten plus years, God kept directing me to buy a new pair of running shoes each year. Was God planning a reunion? It sure didn’t look like it. My health continued to decline. Funeral arrangements were made. Goodbyes were shared. Then on November 3, 2019, a shell of a man walked into a tent revival and was completely healed by our amazing Savior. A month later, God reunited us. In 2020, after not running for over ten years, God blessed me with the opportunity to complete 1,000 miles in ten months. Oh what a feeling. But during 2020, a pandemic rolled in and changed the world. On Super Bowl Sunday 2021, I was introduced to this strange virus called Covid. Little did I know my life was going to be completely changed. Since that Super Bowl Sunday, my body has never been the same. I have tried on many occasions to run again. We had a little success, but there have been many moments of major disappointments.

So it’s with a broken heart, I say one final goodbye to an old friend. We have made some beautiful memories together. But the effects of Covid and some other health issues have made running difficult and not enjoyable. I always dreamed running would be part of my life until Jesus took me home. So on August 4, 2022, I announce my retirement from running. It has been a beautiful crazy journey. Thanks for the memories my friend.

A Titus Life

Today’s a new day! Praying I can live a Titus 3:2 life today and everyday. Here is what Titus 3:2 says- To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

Hello Todd

Some nights, I wanna disappear into the night like a flying star. Maybe I can be like Marty McFly and find a time machine to take me back in time. Maybe I will travel to the year when I was 12. That’s when I remember my body facing its first medical trial. When life changed for awhile. Of course I didn’t know then that at 35, my life would turn into one crazy beautiful health journey. But a miracle would change that at 53. Then a pandemic would hit that changed everything at 55. I would tell that 12 year old, he’s going to take a lot of hits along the way. His life is going to become a medical odyssey. A journey around the world for doctors to see how this dead man walking keeps on overcoming. They whisper to themselves this man just refuses to die. I would share with that 12 year boy, it’s not by his strength that he is surviving the crazy waves. No it’s by the powerful love of God that he’s thriving as the waves come raging in. Remember when you were 10 years old and you asked the King of Kings into your heart? That life changing moment did not make life easy, but that single moment filled you with peace and hope. Those would come in handy in the years ahead. You will make mistakes along the journey, but when you look to your left or right the King of Kings will always be standing by your side. When you have questions or need some insight, God will always be there to direct your ways. You see, God is always listening even when you think he’s asleep. Hey, let’s take a break and return to that young man trying to navigate his way. There are some things you’ll do along the way you wish you could erase. But remember, every slip up will make you the man you will become one day. Far from perfect, but still allowing God to mold him like clay. People will build you up along the way, but will be quick to tear you down when you go astray. But don’t let anybody tell you how to write your story. Along the journey you might need to flip the script even if it scares a few people away. We are all products of our lived experiences. At times along the journey you will feel confused and scared. That’s when you stop and lean into the loving arms of the King of Kings. I hope you’re hearing this. I wish I could tell you life is going to be easy, but that would be a shiny bright lie. Yeah, I wrote about that before you should check it out. Life will be full of mistakes. That’s just part of the race. Do not forget about those lived experiences. But life will also be full of decisions you get right. Both are learning experiences. Don’t miss out on the lessons. When the journey gets hard, remember that Mother’s Day back in the day when you said yes to the Lord. You will often look back on that day when facing those crashing waves. Life is not going to be easy. There will be days you feel like throwing it all away, but then God will suddenly stop everything so you can take it all in and be amazed. Don’t miss one of those days. You see, life is going to go quick. One day you will wake up and wonder what happened to all those days. My prayer for that 12 year old boy, is that you will take it all in. The good and the bad. The memories that bring tears and the ones that bring smiles. Enjoy every minute of this amazing ride. ~OC

Waiting

Today’s a new day! Waiting. For most of us, waiting is not one of our favorite things. What do you do when life finds you in a state of waiting? When all you can do is wait. Waiting on test results. Waiting on a relationship to be mended. Waiting for a breakthrough. Waiting for a sign from God that it will not always be like this… waiting can be taxing, discouraging and deflating. Waiting can cause us to question our faith. To question God.

But what if waiting is the season God is using to grow us? That there is purpose behind the waiting. God wants us whole and He wants us free, and He will often take us on a journey of discovery before we get to the fulfillment of what we hope for. God has your back and He wants what is best for you. God is for you and will not forsake you, even in the middle of your biggest storm. Even during the waiting. ~OC

Dear Friend

Dear Friend,

As I scrolled through your social media pages, I sense you are struggling. You seem tired. As I read your post, it appears you are being overwhelmed by the storms of life. I have experienced those moments.

So friend, I want you to know I am here for you. There have been times, I have watched other friends walk through storms from a distance because I was not sure what to say. I made their pain about me. I wish I had just showed up. Just listened.

As I have walked through my own storms, I realize how important it is to have friends walk with you. I am thankful for those who did not jump out of the boat when the seas got rough.

I am done letting fear keep me from staying close. I will not be perfect when I reach out to you. I may not always say the right thing. I am okay with that. The most important thing is, I will always be there for you. No judgment. No quick fixes. Just me standing in the gap.

Friend, you will get through whatever storm you are facing at this moment. It will not be easy. There will be some rough days. You might even feel like giving up. You might lose hope. When you lose hope, I will hope for you. We will get through this journey called life together. We will finish strong. ~OC

True Friends

Today’s a new day! There will be friends that stick close and support you during the storms of life. There will be people who call themselves friends, but they will disappear during the storm. Do not dwell on those friends. Be thankful for those friends that continue to walk with you during the storms and rejoice with you during the victories. ~OC

Hope Dealer

Hope Dealer:

I want to tell you about a Hope Dealer. A Difference Maker. His name is Ricky Aiken. My amazing godson.

I met Ricky when he was about 13 or 14 years old. He was a inner-city kid trying to find his way in life. I was a white guy from the suburbs trying to make a difference. A unlikely pair, but we just clicked. Fast forward a lot of years and Ricky has more than found his way and is making a major difference in his community. Ricky founded Inner City Innovators and is a leader of change in his community. I believe what Ricky is doing will go beyond West Palm Beach and Florida. Ricky is changing the culture of the inner-city. He is showing people that the inner-city is more than what they see on the news. Laura West Shoemaker and I are so proud of Ricky. We think of Ricky as our son. We are excited to see what he is going to do next. Ricky is truly a Difference Maker. A Hope Dealer. ~OC

Your 4th Quarter

What is the legacy you want to leave your family, friends and community? Some might think this is a question we should be asking as we head into the 4th Quarter of our journey. But I disagree with that thinking. We never know when our 4th quarter will come.
None of us know when we will be entering the 4the quarter of our journey. When we are children, we think the 4th quarter looks so far away. We are just getting into the game. But sadly, some of us have seen children pass away.
When we enter our 20’s, we experience freedom. A time to start making our own decisions. Good or bad. A time to find ourselves. A time to put the lessons we have been taught into action. Once again, good or bad. In our 20’s, we begin to make life long friends as we travel through higher education, military and the workforce. Some begin to fall in love with the person they will hopefully walk through life with until the end. Will this be your 4th quarter? Will you be prepared? What legacy will you leave?
When we enter our 30’s, some begin to start families and build their careers. Yes, you can do both. Some buy houses where they will raise families and build beautiful memories. Will this be your 4th quarter? Will you be prepared? What legacy will you leave?
When we enter our 40’s, we scratch our head and wonder how that’s possible. Parents begin to see their children heading off to college and even getting married. A lot of changes during this time. Once again, some good and some not so much. But we press on. Will this be your 4th quarter? Will you be prepared? What legacy will you leave?
When we enter our 50’s, we think 50’s not that old. Then we start experiencing little aches and pains. We start going to the bathroom at strange hours of the morning. Some will become grandparents. Some say goodbye to their own parents. We start looking at retirement a little closer. Some begin to look at the legacy they want to leave. Hopefully, we started looking at our legacy earlier in the game. Will this be your 4th quarter? Will you be prepared? What legacy will you leave?
As we enter our 60’s, some will retire. Others will find a new exciting purpose. A new passion. Some will begin traveling more often. Building memories with grandchildren and old friends. Life will change. Once again, for better or worse. All the sudden we will lean more about the medical world than we ever wanted to. We will reflect back on life a little more. Will this be your 4th quarter? Will you be prepared? What legacy will you leave?
As we enter our 70’s, Florida will get a little more crowded. Some will become more like their parents. Once again, for better or worse. Some will become great-grandparents. We will begin to experience more changes in our bodies. We will start saying goodbye to old friends. Some will find their second act in life. Will this be your 4th quarter? Will you be prepared? What legacy will you leave?
As we enter our 80’s, we will be challenged to sit around and watch life roll by or chose to build into the lives of others? To keep living and making a difference. Some will move in with family members. Sadly, we will start attending more funerals. We will spend a little more time reflecting back on life. Will this be your 4th quarter? Will you be prepared? What legacy will you leave?
As we enter our 90’s, we will spend more time reflecting back on our lives. Some will look back with fondness, while others will look back with regrets. Some will build houses for the needy. Some will continue to run marathons. Others will become authors and artist. For most this will be their 4th quarter. Will you be prepared? What legacy will you leave?
Some will become centenarian. That will mean you have entered Overtime. God bless you. Will you be prepared? What legacy will you leave? ~OC

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