Thursday, October 20, 2016

He Said What?

"The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty." - Zig Ziglar
In a day and age where arrogance and selfishness has replaced honesty and integrity it was a heart warming moment between a ball player and umpire that has stirred our hearts today. Most baseball players use the tactic of intimidation versus umpires when it comes to balls and strikes. Confused? Let me explain:
When a batter approaches toward first base after a pitch he thinks is ball four but the umpire sees it as a strike, the baseball player is clearly trying to either persuade the umpire to see it their way and call it a ball four and a walk or the hitter is trying to make a fool of the umpire in front of millions of viewers.
In last night's important Game Four of a championship series between the Chicago Cubs and LA Dodgers, this sequence of events occurred between Cubs captain Anthony Rizzo and umpire Angel Hernandez. The next time Rizzo came to bat and feeling like he was trying to intimidate the umpire even though that wasn't his intention, he apologized to umpire Hernandez. The umpire's reply was simply,
"Your fault for what brother?” Hernandez replied. “Come on, you’re good, bro. You're awesome with us. No, no worries. You’re competing. I understand. Don’t worry. You know what’s best of it? You come back and tell me that. That’s how good of a guy you are.”
Oh.... for these classic moments to remind us that honesty and integrity still exists in America!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Lost Art of Time

"Lost time is never found again." - Ben Franklin
Sometimes our peace and happiness depends on how much time we put into it. At a most recent sporting event, a thing called hockey, everyone in the crowd was filled with excitement and anticipation as this was to be the first game of the season. Well...not everyone was excited. The two guys sitting behind us had the nerve to talk business throughout most of the contest and were obviously not there to enjoy the moment. I found this to be extremely annoying!
 One of my biggest pet peeves when attending a sporting event is the people who are either too busy chatting about other things during the game or spending time on their phone while the game is in progress.
So much of our culture today is filled with busyness and distraction. We have lost the art of spending time experiencing all that life has to offer within our surroundings. We've simply forgotten how to enjoy time. Granted some folks wish they had time to do something fun or exciting, but if we get too wrapped up in the busyness of life we will never experience any sense of peace. Our faced-paced life will just run us into the ground and our life expectancy will shorten.
When I go to sporting events I like to go for the entertainment, the relaxation, the enjoyment of those around me, and to forget about my troubles. I am simply a kid in a candy store every time I get the chance to go to a game of any sport.
Someone once said that "The time you enjoy wasting is not really wasted time."
 Yep, if you are spending time with the people you love doing things that you enjoy, than it really isn't wasted time now, is it?
Don't wait. The time will never be just right, for procrastination is the thief of time.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Cart Full of Joy

"Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy
 and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you."
As I pulled into the grocery store parking lot the other day I saw a woman pushing and riding her shopping cart across the lot to her car. An overflowing abundance of joy lit up her face on this beautiful autumn afternoon.
Once I got out of my car I approached her, knowing she was done emptying her groceries into her trunk, and asked if I could save her a trip in returning the cart. Of course she obliged and I commented about watching her joyfully riding her shopping cart across the lot. Her face turned red as she simply replied,
"I just got off work and it's such a beautiful day outside. I cannot resist being happy!"
Happiness and joy are contagious. Your expression of joy is a reflection of who you are. Do what makes you happy. Your happiness can never amount to nothing.
One of the greatest joys for me as I routinely take walks at the zoo is just seeing the smiles on other peoples faces as they oooh and ahhh at the animals. Happiness is a contagious disease we should all long for.
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever: it's loveliness increases;
 it will never pass into nothingness." poet John Keats

Thursday, September 29, 2016

87 or 24

"Well here it is, this is the end, you can go on or you can go back and do it again, but you have to do it the same way." - Arnold Palmer speaking on his retirement from professional golf.

While television began evolving more and more in  1960 so was the sport of golf thanks to Arnold Palmer. With his genuine respect for the game, the people who played and those that watched, Palmer quickly became an ambassador bringing golf to the masses as a gentleman's game.

Palmer was the gleaming image of golf for seven decades and within a four- year period of the 1960's
he won 21 tournaments. Long before Michael Jordan became a marketing endorsement magnet it was Arnold Palmer who had paved the way for athletes. Palmer was the first of it's kind of any sport and he continued to pioneer golf even after retiring. Everything from designing his own golf courses, to his own clothing and golf clubs, and even his own lemonade/ice tea had his signature and imprint on it. Why, even last year he made $40 million in endorsements. Not bad for an 87 year-old, huh?
Arnold Palmer passed away at the age of 87 last week, but he left a true legacy that measured greatness by living life as a true, genuine gentleman.

Florida baseball player Jose Fernandez, an up and coming pitcher for the Marlins passed away in a boating accident at the tender age of 24 just hours after Palmer. Jose showed much promise as he was a dominating pitcher on the mound but it was his love of the game, the passion he played with, and the joy he brought his teammates that will be remembered. With Marlins attendance struggling in recent years to sell out games, Fernandez brought an exuberance to the game whenever he pitched that attendance actually rose on the days he was scheduled to pitch.

Jose's joy and love for playing a kids game stemmed from his freedom from Cuba. He escaped Cuba as a 15 year-old after three failed attempts. He began working with kids in the Cuban communities within Miami enlightening them with his story that anything is possible.

Both of these great athletes made an impact on life and those around them, but one was short-lived which is why it's important to make the most of your time here on earth while you still can.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

So this Happened

While quarterback Kaepernick and other athletes were taking a knee during the national anthem (fortunately Kaepernick has decided to get involved more instead of just protesting), and protests, looting, and rioting were going on in parts of America this week, this was also happening in one of Chicago's neighborhoods where the homeless live under the viaducts:

A simple gesture of love and hope provided by the Compassion in Action team at my church
 (Mercy Gate Intl.) and a Chicago church as we participate with Chicago's Night Ministry (linked on my home page). On most scheduled evenings we normally feed the homeless a hot meal in a styrofoam container with a bag of snacks, and in the winter we also provide them with hats, coats and gloves.

 But on this particular night we provided them with a candlelight banquet. Some commented in astonishment asking why we were doing this for them, some said they hadn't sat down at an actual table for a meal in a long time, and some thanked us for providing them with hope, a hope that is so needed within America right now.

It's easy for any of us to just sit and criticize what's wrong with society, criticize the oppression and ill affects that are taking place within our society, or even criticize what we read through social media, but at the end of the day we should each be asking ourselves,

"What am I doing to help?"

"Am I a part of the problem or part of the solution?"

"Do I hate what is going on in my country?"

 "Do I want to see change?"

"What can I do to help?"

God knows there are plenty of opportunities out there for you to get involved and make a change.

If you, your church or any group you are associated with would like to help there are several ways you can do that:

1. If you want to help but don't live in the Chicagoland area, you can either checkout my church's website linked on my homepage (Mercy Gate Intl) and donate for the night ministry (the money goes directly toward that mission)

2. If you and your church or group want to get involved with Chicago's Night Ministry they are also linked on my homepage.

And more importantly if you live outside the Chicago area, get involved within your own community.
Don't just sit and wait for change, be a part of it. I think we can all agree that waiting for the government or politicians to change things in society for the good of the people just ain't gonna happen'.

 Like I said, the opportunities are out there. Things aren't going to change unless each individual American's actions change.

All is one thing can change by itself.

"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - Francis of Assisi