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
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
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. 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
Today’s a new day! Don’t just live life; be enthusiastically engaged. ~OC
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
Today’s a new day! Yesterday is gone. Take the lessons learned and move on. Today is happening right now. Do not miss a precious moment and build some beautiful memories. Tomorrow is not promised. Do not waste today worrying about what might happen tomorrow. ~OC
I grew up a Cincinnati Reds fans. I was blessed to grow up in the era of The Big Red Machine. My favorite player was #5 Johnny Bench. The greatest catcher to ever play the game. So of course, I always played catcher and wore #5. I was determined to be the next Johnny Bench.
Fast forward a few decades and I never did become the next Johnny Bench. So far, nobody else has either. I am still a huge Reds fan and Mr. Bench is still my favorite all time player.
Laura and I are blessed that several of our dear friends are neighbors with Mr. Bench. They have made it their mission to let this Johnny Bench fan meet his hero. And last night was the night.
I know several people who have met their childhood hero and been disappointed. The person just didn’t measure up to who they thought their hero would be. So I was a little nervous meeting my childhood hero.
I met Mr. Bench has he walked in from a golf tournament he was hosting. The fundraiser was for my friends school for at-risk students called Believers Academy (www.believersacademyinc.org). The school is doing amazing work. My friends had invited Laura and I to attend the auction that would raise money for this amazing school located in West Palm Beach, Florida.
I have to say, I was not disappointed in meeting Mr. Bench. He was one of the nicest people I have ever met. Our friends had arranged for us to sit at Mr. Bench’s table. I do not believe Mr. Bench has ever met a stranger. He treated everyone he met with respect. I was most impressed with how well he treated the staff at PGA National, where the event was held. Mr. Bench is truly a class act.
I hope if you ever get to meet one of your heroes, they will not disappoint you. I can honestly say, I walked away from my encounter with Mr. Bench a bigger fan. Go Reds! ~OC
Good morning! I had the honor of being on my friend Marvin Bee’s podcast last night. Marvin and I attended college together at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Thanks for having me Marvin. ~OC
***During the podcast I mistakenly said I completed my first marathon 4 months after surgery. I meant to say I started running 4 months after surgery. I actually completed my first marathon a year after open heart surgery. Sorry for any confusion.