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

Embrace Today

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

Meeting One Of My Heroes

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 ( 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

The Blessed Overcomer Meets The Tech Guy

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.

Twenty Years Ago Today

I made one of the best decisions of my life twenty years ago. I had the honor of marrying my best friend Laura West Shoemaker. Oh, what a journey it has been. So many amazing moments and memories.

Laura and I met in January of 1999 and were married by September 1999. Crazy I know! I am sure a lot of people thought we were crazy when we exchanged our vows. Remember, we had only known each other for nine months. But we knew God had brought us together, to walk this journey called life as husband and wife. Of course, we had no idea what a crazy beautiful journey it would be.

Imagine being just a few years into your marriage and your life changing forever. That was what Laura and I experienced in 2002. Finding out that my body was beginning to betray me was life changing, but not in the way you might think. My health journey has been a struggle for both of us. At the same time, the journey has been an amazing gift. A gift Laura and I have decided to embrace with enthusiasm. Most days.

From the very beginning, Laura and I decided that my health struggles would not define us. Our story would not be a sad one. No, we made the choice to keep living. Not just living, but to truly Thrive in life.

Our faith has been a major part of our marriage. From the very beginning, God has been the center of our relationship. We did meet at church after all. God has walked with us every step of our crazy journey. Through the good times and the challenging times

From the highs of exchanging wedding vows twenty years ago to the continuing challenges of dealing with life threatening health issues in 2019, the journey has been one amazing ride. I would not change a thing. The good days and the challenging days have brought us closer together. This journey has been filled with so many amazing memories. No day or moment taken for granted. Each day celebrated. Each moment cherished. I am grateful God has allowed us to walk this crazy beautiful journey together. Let’s keep living this adventure and making amazing memories together. Love you girl! ~OC

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