Archive for the ‘Heroes’ Category

I have been a regular blood donor for over two decades — since 1990. It has always been something that I do that I know has a positive impact on others. I know the precious life giving power blood gives someone who needs it. And it such a simple, selfless act that really anybody can perform. You just need to be healthy and you need to be willing — that’s all.

Recently, I have even spent my donation time in prayer as I lay there, praying that God will use the blood cells to heal, nourish, and protect the recipient who receives my blood. As a believer in Christ, I believe my blood will have, not only the scientific and medical impact, that is desired, but the additional, more powerful spiritual impact that is life changing.

My wife’s ER and hospital trip yesterday was the first time I have personally benefited from our nation’s blood supply. And while I knew blood donations were a good thing, I am now an even stronger advocate because my family has benefited from the actions and sacrifice (time and the pain of a needle stick) of dedicated donors.

What I want to do is educate and encourage others out there to give blood on a very regular basis. The “bang for the buck” for the donor is huge. There aren’t too many other single acts that you can do where 30-45 minutes of your time and inconvenience can truly save someone else’s life.

If you aren’t currently giving blood, it is because you are A) – not healthy (or eligible) or B) – not willing. And while I cannot do anything to help you with A, I can definitely encourage and challenge you on B. We are all busy in our lives (one of the most common reasons for not donating). But put yourself or a loved one in the hospital and position as a recipient and it changes that perspective now, doesn’t it. I would hope you would MAKE the time to donate with that perspective in your head.

If you are afraid of needles or the pain (another common reason people don’t donate), again, put yourself or a loved one in the hospital and in the position as a recipient. The small, minor inconvenience of a needle stick sure looks pretty wimpy when you project it against a child cancer patient, an anemic pregnant mother, or a traffic accident victim. I know you might be afraid — I was when I first started giving blood. My only fear was of needles. And I forced myself to get over that (unreasonable) fear by donating blood. Again and again. While I don’t cherish the physical process of drawing blood, I do cherish the opportunity to save someone’s life.

If you are unwilling because it is your own body and your own blood and you are reluctant to share, then I have nothing for you. This world is much greater than yourself and until you begin to see that, nothing I say can help and I will not waste my time. Blood donations are the least of your worries. Continue on living in your bubble island.

So, get out there, call your local donation center, set up an appointment, and go give of yourself so that your action can have a huge, positive impact on our community and world.

For those of you that already give blood donations routinely, THANK YOU!!!!! You had a positive impact on my wife yesterday, because that could have been your blood she received.

This has been a public service announcement.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Today marks the birthday and passing of two great American leaders. Interestingly, they also both wore signature hats that made them iconic.

Happy birthday, President Lincoln! And we miss you Tom Landry!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

I have posted earlier about our family’s implementation of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Jr. I purchased two kits for K and D when my wife and I started Financial Peace University and the 7 Baby Steps. However, the kits sat around for a few months until I was motivated enough to action (see Goal #10 on this post). At the beginning of the year, I sat down with K and D and we had a homeschool lesson on finances. We reviewed the material in the kits. We learned about paying God first (GIVING), paying yourself second (SAVING) and paying all others after (SPENDING). We then set up our weekly whiteboard chore charts and laid out the kids’ weekly tasks and commission (payment) schedule.

It has been a great improvement process and the kids have responded wonderfully. If I had know it would go this well I would have done it years ago. I came home from work on the first day after our lesson and it was like I lived in a museum. The kitchen was spotless, animals were cared for, and the family and living rooms were swept, vacuumed and all stuff put away. The kids had marked off all of their chores for the day and were excited to point out their accomplishments. Additionally, I had contributed to past failures by not being consistent in checking that chores were done and paying on time in full. With the kids on top of things, that also required that I step up my game. So I have been dutifully checking their progress daily, marking their charts, and hoarding singles like I was a bachelor at a strip club, not for that, but to be able to pay the kids in amounts that can then be split on the spot into their GIVE, SAVE, and SPEND envelopes.

NOTE: the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace systems provide envelopes for you to implement a cash based system of tracking and spending. However, I did not utilize these because I didn’t want to get hooked and have to pay for refills. So instead, I found a PDF online that prints out envelopes that you can then cut out and fold. This is what we and the kids have been using.

Download and print your own FREE printable cash envelopes here.

For the kids’ giving, they have been dropping money into our church’s offering. Additionally, they have identified causes and charities that are close to their hearts. As a father, it is so good to see the kids gladly give away some of what they have earned through their hard work. That act loosens the grip money has on us — because after all, it is not ours; we are merely stewards of it.

So when my son said he wanted to give a donation to Wayside Christian Mission (where he frequently joins me for Friday breakfast serving) I was thrilled. He forgot his envelope last week, but this week remembered to bring it with him. He brought it in and gave it to our dear friend who leads up the kitchen and dining room. He, in turn, took D to his boss so he could present it to her. She was very receptive and thankful. And while it was only thirty something dollars, it came from a child who was giving not only his money, but also his time. A homeless guy who was standing next to her even made a comment — “You don’t see that every day from an adult, much less a kid”.

It sure was a good way to start off our Friday.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

The Boy Scouts of America organization is 102 years old today. They are a phenomenal organization that does so much for young men, families and our country promoting skills, values, preparedness, charity, citizenship and community. I wholeheartedly support them and am very proud of my son who is a third generation Scout transitioning from a Webelos II to a local Boy Scout troop in the next few months.

I mean, how can you not respect these values:

Scout Oath
On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country;
To obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

Scout Law
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

Scout Motto
Be Prepared

Scout Slogan
Do a good turn daily

Outdoor Code
As an American, I will do my best, to be clean in my outdoor manners, to be careful with fire, to be considerate in the outdoors, and to be conservation minded.

Happy birthday, BSA!!!!!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

I just finished an article that really impresses me. I am going to link to it but also reprint it below (with the proper credits) in the hopes that more people read it and get the message. And while it definitely is about Tim Tebow, it MORE IMPORTANTLY is about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and love and serve others.

How cool would it be if we all followed those actions.

Original article link here.

I Believe In Tim Tebow
By Rick Reilly

I’ve come to believe in Tim Tebow, but not for what he does on a football field, which is still three parts Dr. Jekyll and two parts Mr. Hyde.

No, I’ve come to believe in Tim Tebow for what he does off a football field, which is represent the best parts of us, the parts I want to be and so rarely am.

Who among us is this selfless?

Every week, Tebow picks out someone who is suffering, or who is dying, or who is injured. He flies these people and their families to the Broncos game, rents them a car, puts them up in a nice hotel, buys them dinner (usually at a Dave & Buster’s), gets them and their families pregame passes, visits with them just before kickoff (!), gets them 30-yard-line tickets down low, visits with them after the game (sometimes for an hour), has them walk him to his car, and sends them off with a basket of gifts.

Home or road, win or lose, hero or goat.

Remember last week, when the world was pulling its hair out in the hour after Tebow had stunned the Pittsburgh Steelers with an 80-yard OT touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in the playoffs? And Twitter was exploding with 9,420 tweets about Tebow per second? When an ESPN poll was naming him the most popular athlete in America?

Tebow was spending that hour talking to 16-year-old Bailey Knaub about her 73 surgeries so far and what TV shows she likes.

“Here he’d just played the game of his life,” recalls Bailey’s mother, Kathy, of Loveland, Colo., “and the first thing he does after his press conference is come find Bailey and ask, ‘Did you get anything to eat?’ He acted like what he’d just done wasn’t anything, like it was all about Bailey.”

More than that, Tebow kept corralling people into the room for Bailey to meet. Hey, Demaryius, come in here a minute. Hey, Mr. Elway. Hey, Coach Fox.

Even though sometimes-fatal Wegener’s granulomatosis has left Bailey with only one lung, the attention took her breath away.

“It was the best day of my life,” she emailed. “It was a bright star among very gloomy and difficult days. Tim Tebow gave me the greatest gift I could ever imagine. He gave me the strength for the future. I know now that I can face any obstacle placed in front of me. Tim taught me to never give up because at the end of the day, today might seem bleak but it can’t rain forever and tomorrow is a new day, with new promises.”

I read that email to Tebow, and he was honestly floored.

“Why me? Why should I inspire her?” he said. “I just don’t feel, I don’t know, adequate. Really, hearing her story inspires me.”

It’s not just NFL defenses that get Tebowed. It’s high school girls who don’t know whether they’ll ever go to a prom. It’s adults who can hardly stand. It’s kids who will die soon.

For the game at Buffalo, it was Charlottesville, Va., blue-chip high school QB Jacob Rainey, who lost his leg after a freak tackle in a scrimmage. Tebow threw three interceptions in that Buffalo game and the Broncos were crushed 40-14.

“He walked in and took a big sigh and said, ‘Well, that didn’t go as planned,'” Rainey remembers. “Where I’m from, people wonder how sincere and genuine he is. But I think he’s the most genuine person I’ve ever met.”

There’s not an ounce of artifice or phoniness or Hollywood in this kid Tebow, and I’ve looked everywhere for it.

Take 9-year-old Zac Taylor, a child who lives in constant pain. Immediately after Tebow shocked the Chicago Bears with a 13-10 comeback win, Tebow spent an hour with Zac and his family. At one point, Zac, who has 10 doctors, asked Tebow whether he has a secret prayer for hospital visits. Tebow whispered it in his ear. And because Tebow still needed to be checked out by the Broncos’ team doctor, he took Zac in with him, but only after they had whispered it together.

And it’s not always kids. Tom Driscoll, a 55-year-old who is dying of brain cancer at a hospice in Denver, was Tebow’s guest for the Cincinnati game. “The doctors took some of my brain,” Driscoll says, “so my short-term memory is kind of shot. But that day I’ll never forget. Tim is such a good man.”

This whole thing makes no football sense, of course. Most NFL players hardly talk to teammates before a game, much less visit with the sick and dying.

Isn’t that a huge distraction?

“Just the opposite,” Tebow says. “It’s by far the best thing I do to get myself ready. Here you are, about to play a game that the world says is the most important thing in the world. Win and they praise you. Lose and they crush you. And here I have a chance to talk to the coolest, most courageous people. It puts it all into perspective. The game doesn’t really matter. I mean, I’ll give 100 percent of my heart to win it, but in the end, the thing I most want to do is not win championships or make a lot of money, it’s to invest in people’s lives, to make a difference.”

So that’s it. I’ve given up giving up on him. I’m a 100 percent believer. Not in his arm. Not in his skills. I believe in his heart, his there-will-definitely-be-a-pony-under-the-tree optimism, the way his love pours into people, right up to their eyeballs, until they believe they can master the hopeless comeback, too.

Remember the QB who lost his leg, Jacob Rainey? He got his prosthetic leg a few weeks ago, and he wants to play high school football next season. Yes, tackle football. He’d be the first to do that on an above-the-knee amputation.

Hmmm. Wonder where he got that crazy idea?

“Tim told me to keep fighting, no matter what,” Rainey says. “I am.”

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Because our family was on the road yesterday, we recorded the Broncos-Steelers game. However, we also cheated and checked the score during the game via our iPhone app. And when my wife announced that the Broncos beat the Steelers in overtime we both yelled and high fived in the truck. I plan on watching that game tonight when I get home.

Below is a statement that was forwarded to me from a friend. I don’t know the validity of the details, but they sound very cool.

The fact that Tebow had 316 yards passing and averaged 31.6 yards per pass in the game didn’t escape notice on Sunday night. Tebow wore “John 3:16” on his eye black in the 2009 BCS Championship game and has since become identified with the famous Bible message. The coincidental stats caused millions of fans to perform Google searches on the Bible passage in the past 24 hours. Here’s one more unbelievable stat: John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that the final quarter-hour television rating for the Broncos-Steelers game was, you guessed it, 31.6.

And just in case, in the remote chance, that you don’t know the verse of John 3:16, here it is.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Bring on the Patriots!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Every Friday when I go and pray downtown in front of the local abortion clinic, I meet up with several devoted prayer warriors. Several of these folks have been down there either daily or weekly for not only months, but years.

One such older lady is Donna. She is a precious grandma type and what she lacks in physical strength and size she more than makes up in faith and wisdom. She is a persistent, faithful and bold prayer warrior who I look forward to seeing week in and week out. She particularly enjoys it when I bring my son D down and she goes out of her way to give him a hug and speak to him. She will lovingly speak with those lost young girls going in and coming out of the abortion center providing them information, letting them know of alternatives, and letting them know of Christ’s love.

One particular event revealed Donna’s true nature and cemented her in my mind as a true disciple. It was during a time when there was quite a bit of activity in front of the center. There were several of the clinic escorts in orange vests out front and Donna was standing on the curb by her car signs that say “It’s a boy” and “It’s a girl” highlighting the sanctity of life. She had her Bible and crucifix in her hands and a guy drove by really slow. He honked his horn and yelled to Donna out his rolled down window several expletives that do not bear repeating here. It was obvious his anger and ire were pointed towards Donna, not the abortion clinic. She turned towards the street and, without missing a beat, said in a louder voice (for her), “God bless you!!!”.

I was impressed. Her reaction wasn’t thought out. It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t deduced or premeditated. It was the natural reaction of a loving servant of Christ. I don’t know I would have responded the same way…..actually, I know I would not have responded the same way. I have more time along my path to acquire such wisdom and patience. But Donna models it.

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. — Luke 6:27-28

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

70 years ago today, the sleeping giant of America was awakened by an attack on its Pacific naval forces. Many good servicemen died that day serving our country. Today is a day we can remember their sacrifice.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

I have really enjoyed watching Tim Teboe grow and mature from his role in college to his leadership in the NFL. Take a quick look at this interview and listen to where he is coming from. It is indicative of a servant disciple who is unashamedly Christ focused, humble, and with priorities that are in the order they need to be. He is human and he will make mistakes (which I can guarantee the media will vilify him for) but right now he is on a path with Christ and right where God needs him to be.

I look forward to continue watching his career — with the NFL and as Christ’s disciple with a high visibility platform to spread the Gospel and good news of salvation through Christ.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net