New Opportunities

I had to retire early from my career in the juvenile justice field. I was only in my early 40’s. Thankfully, God was not finished with me. In the past ten years, God has allowed me to take on several new roles. Here are some of the opportunities God has blessed me to be part of:

Abolitionist

Missionary

Blogger

Encourager

Author

Thought Leader

Speaker

Prayer Warrior

Health Advocate

Blessed Overcomer

Ten years ago, I could have allowed my health issues to become my identity. But God had other plans for me. I had to make the choice to keep living and thriving. I pray you will make the choice to look past your current circumstances and choose to keep thriving and making a difference. ~OC

Thought Leader

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

 

Lessons Along The Journey

During my 17 year crazy beautiful health journey, I am often asked what lessons I have learned along the way. I could probably write a book on the lessons God has taught me, as I have walked this journey. I am not up for writing another book at this time, so I thought I would share a few with you. Here we go…..

Prayer. I knew the importance of prayer way before my crazy beautiful journey started, but this journey has only reinforced the importance and power of prayer. I can look back on multiple occasions when the prayers of many saved my life. Praying for others is a real honor for me. Prayer energizes me.

Choose to Thrive. Dealing with multiple health issues can be overwhelming. The journey can flat out be exhausting. It can be very easy to just survive. To just make it through the day. Who could blame me? But years ago, my wife and I decided Just Surviving was not how we wanted to live life. No, we decided to Thrive in life. That means not allowing my health issues to define us. Thriving means embracing life. Even on those rough days. Choosing to thrive is  a daily choice. Sometimes a moment by moment choice.

Finding Purpose. During this crazy beautiful journey, I had to find a purpose for it all. There had to be more to this journey than doctor appointments, unending test and hospital visits. During my 17 year journey, God has allowed me to become a Abolitionist, Missionary, Motivational Speaker, Author, Patient Advocate and Thought Leader. I made the choice to turn a perceived negative into an opportunity to make a difference in life. What a ride it has been.

Laugh Often. When you have been diagnosed with as many life threatening health issues as I have, you just have to laugh. My wife Laura and I have used humor, dark humor most of the time to get through some of the toughest days. I mean when your known as The Man Who Refuses To Die, you have to laugh.

Don’t Sweat The Small Things. Life is too short to worry about the small things in life. My wife often shares with people, “Todd and I do not argue over how one of us squeezes the bottle of toothpaste.” 

Find Your 3 am Friends. Who’s in your posse? Who are those friends that you can call at 3am when life becomes overwhelming? Do you have any? I truly believe God brings those 3am friends into our lives. I do not believe they can be manufactured by us. Also, I believe your posse can change over time. And guess what? That’s okay. I believe some relationships are just for a season. So don’t stress out when your posse changes.

Travel. I had never really traveled that much before my health journey. A few trips here and there. But after I started dealing with my health issues, my wife and I decided we wanted to travel more. Sometimes it’s just a day trip up the road and sometimes it is trips to Cuba and Alaska. Traveling has been a true blessing for my wife and I. So plan your next trip.

These are just a few lessons learned along the journey. I pray they will help encourage you, as you walk your own crazy beautiful journey. ~OC

 

 

 

 

 

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