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

Keep Running

Today’s a new day! Life is like running. Each step is a new memory. The more steps you take, the more memories you make. Never stop running!!! ~OC

Where You Going?

Where you going? Don’t leave me. Where you going? I am comfortable with you. Why do you want to leave? Don’t you feel comfortable anymore? I like it here. Why do things need to change? I guess you have outgrown me. Where you going? Wait, don’t leave. I am holding onto the good times. I can’t let go. I guess I don’t want to let go. Where you going? Why do things need to change? Wait! Where you going? You don’t miss me? I miss you. At least I think I do. Wait! Where you going? Can’t we talk about it? It’s complicated I know. Wait! Where you going? I keep holding on to the good times. Sometimes, I even think about the bad times. Wait! Where you going? Is it time to say goodbye? Maybe. Wait! Where you going? ~OC

Amazing Grace

Today’s a new day! Remember hearing the word Grace after becoming a follower of Jesus? Oh how it stirred my emotions. Do you remember how sweet it was to sing about God’s Amazing Grace? Does God’s Grace still move you to truly love your neighbors? Does God’s Amazing Grace still move you to thankfulness? Does God’s Amazing Grace still lead you to tears? Are your emotions still moved when you sing that beautiful song Amazing Grace and reflect on God’s beautiful promises? ~OC

My Journey As A Bucs Fan

Well my Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to the Super Bowl in Tampa. That’s right. The Bucs are the first team to ever play in a Super Bowl in their own stadium. A lot of folks are jumping on the bandwagon and I am okay with that. Me, I have been rooting for the Bucs since the very beginning in 1974.

That’s right, I started following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on April 24, 1974. That is the day the NFL awarded Tampa with a team. Wow, that was 46 years ago. I was born and raised in South Florida, but just never became a fan of the Miami Dolphins. No disrespect to the Dolphins or their fans. My grandfather was a huge fan and tried his best to make me a Dolphin fan. Heck, I even wore a Dolphins shirt for school pictures one time. But I could never get behind the team from Miami. Then that day in 1974 happened.

Once the NFL awarded the city of Tampa with a team, I was immediately onboard. Even though the Bucs did not start playing until the 1976 season, I was a fan. My parents even bought me a Tampa Bay Buccaneers shirt. Yes, I walked around proudly in my “Creamsicle” Bucs shirt.

After two long years, the 1976 NFL season finally started. Most people don’t remember that the Bucs were originally in the AFC West. I was so excited to see my Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally start playing. The Bucs were playing, but not winning. Tampa ended that first season 0-14. That’s right. A winless season. But I was not deterred. I still proudly wore my Bucs shirt, even though I was heckled by family and friends. I would not give up on my favorite NFL team. I was all in.

My journey as Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan has been a roller coaster. I remember fondly my Bucs winning their first regular season game against the New Orleans Saints in 1977. Oh what a day! Finally able to celebrate a win. Then celebrating a playoff berth in 1979. Then celebrating a Super Bowl victory in 2002. So many great memories.

In 2021, my Bucs are back in the Super Bowl. A lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon. But I have no hate for those bandwagon fans. Welcome aboard! I hope you will truly fall in love with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers like I did, as a child back in 1974. Go Bucs! ~OC

Two Photos. Two Stories. Two Miracles.

The first photo is me reaching 900 miles run in 2020. This time last year, we were just hoping I would live through 2019. Then in November 2019, I would experience a beautiful creative miracle.

The second photo, is of my dear friend Jean Brown. Most people think she is my sister. That is how I feel about her. I have been blessed to call Jean and her husband Chris family for well over 20 years. Jean has faced her own health challenges over the years, but when I got sick again in 2009 Jean stepped up and added the title of Traveling Companion to her busy schedule. On more than one occasion, Jean has dropped everything to help Laura and I with our traveling needs. Besides being a wife, Jean is also a mother of three amazing children. That never stopped her from dropping everything and joining Laura and I on one of our crazy beautiful adventures. ~OC

Two Photos. Two Memories. Two Healings.

Two Photos. Two Memories. Two Healings. This morning I ran my 800 mile of 2020. My Laura and I have experienced many ups and downs along our crazy beautiful journey. One of those ups is Laura Geddes Paez, pictured with Laura and I at one of our book signings last year. Laura P. was more like a little sister to Laura and I. Laura P. and her wonderful husband René walked through many ups and downs with us. In turn, we walked through some major storms with them. I remember when Laura P. got sick, we declared that one day when our bodies recovered from the battles we were facing, we would run a marathon together. We were both looking forward to that day. Last November, I received my healing. Earlier this year, my dear friend received her healing. Not in the way we had hoped. No, my dear sister received the ultimate healing. No more pain or suffering. So when I run, I am not running alone. No, my dear friend Laura P. is running with me. ~OC

Memories

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

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