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Inspirational, Running

Diary Entry: St. Jude Hero Page From 2011

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Below is a post I had written for my St. Jude Hero page, the very first time I did this fundraiser and prepared for the Half Marathon in Nashville, TN .

(Written The First Year After Aaron Earned His Angle’s Wings) 
All my life I have competed in one way or another. Swimming, dance, pageants, riding horses..the list goes on and on.  In that time, I developed a since of competition with a purpose, knowing that win or loose, the efforts were still contributing to something bigger than yourself. Nothing held more true than the night of June 5, 2010 when my own idea became reality and hit home.

 The final night of my National competition the phone rang and my worst nightmare came true. My little cousin, Aaron, had lost his battle with Leukiema and I was far away from home and far away from my family. However, I could not leave the competition.  Not because I physically was unable, but  because I made a promise to a little boy lying in bed at  home, that wanted nothing more than to come watch me compete at my big event that I would stay.  Aaron told me the night before I left, “I am so proud of you and promise me whatever happens, you will finish. Win or loose, you will always be my queen. I love you.” The last words he would ever say to me before he died and big words at that. These words came from a child who had spent months at St. Jude’s fighting a Leukiema that was extremely aggressive and caused much pain, and knowing he barely had much time left. Regardless of what he felt, he found the strength everyday to  put others before himself in every aspect of his life and his treatment. 

 Aaron was the child, that loved unconditionally and without cause. When he spoke to you, he made you feel like you were his favorite. A gift that truly was unique and special. 

 During his illness  he was  more worried about his family being o.k and  going through the process of treatments,traveling , and the education of his cancer, than he was for himself and what he would and did endure. He never wanted tears and he never wanted pain for all around him and spoke of that often. He wanted everyone to be happy and enjoy each day they had.  A remarkable young boy with a huge heart filled with wisdom of love and kindness  that normally takes a lifetime to obtain. 

 I truly believe,  that with the help of St. Jude’s , that thousands of child’s lives will be saved because of Aaron. That they will find a cure to this rare and aggressive form of cancer normally found in adults, that has discovered its  way into children. 

 Aaron taught me my own life lesson. A thought and moral standard my parents  instilled in me for years. He brought it home, he  lived it no matter how bad things got. If he can go through, numerous treatments, bone marrow transplants and tests and still put others above himself, then I can run 13.1 miles in his honor to help St. Jude’s come that much closer to finding a cure to save the lives of thousands. 

 Aaron did his part in contributing to this  process, now lets do ours. Please donate for this worthy cause and support me in raising my monetary goal in Honor and Memory of Aaron.  The boy who loved others the way they wanted to be loved, the one who put others before himself no matter what he endured and the one that saw his purpose in the big picture. 

 Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

Deanna

Running

Meet The Team: 5 Responsibilities of Coaching Relationships

“With Great Coaches, Comes Great Responsibility. ” – Me

 

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Shawn Dunn – Personal Training Director                           CFT, SFN, SET, SSF, SSC, YFT
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Brooke Neeley – Certified Personal Trainer  ISSA, CPR/AED

 

With my training for the half marathon quickly becoming more intense as the weeks go on, there came a point where I said, “I can’t do this on my own.”

After such a difficult and unusual situation from my surgery, plus being on bed rest for so long,  I quickly discovered that my mind told me I could do all the things I did pre-surgery, but my body was telling me to think twice.

This is the point where I was surprisingly  blessed to be introduced to these two AMAZING coaches, Shawn Dunn and Brooke Neeley.

In my earlier competitive years, I had the opportunity to work with a few different personal trainers. However, none hold a candle to these two! They really  are more than I deserve.

What makes them different? We hold ourselves accountable to our responsibilities.

When I say “With great coaches, comes great responsibility” , I say this because there are FIVE major parts to a coaching relationship that I feel are truly important . Shawn and Brooke excel in these areas!

1. They Have A Responsibility To Me: To Be Their Best

This category is pretty self-explanatory, however one of the MOST important. This one key element sets the tone and effectiveness of your personal training experience. Brooke and Shawn use every available resource and training they have to help me reach my goals. This includes nutrition, safety, workout variety, injury recovery, injury prevention and goal expectations.

They also have to be their best mentally. Be the “up” for me when I am down. And  my  safe place where I can have break down if I need it, due to the emotional and physically taxing journey I am on. Lets be real, there is not a single part of this journey that is easy. But that is why they are here. They are a big part of my support system.  In my book ,they definitely deserve 5 stars in these areas.
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Let me remind you of you one key point in this section. Your trainers are also HUMAN, so make sure to keep that in mind if they need to move your session or reschedule. You have no idea what is going on in their lives and  by them rescheduling on you, it could be the difference of an effective session or not.  You want them to be at their very best!

2. I Have A Responsibility To Them : To Be My Best

This  does not mean to only be my best whenever I show up at the gym, giving 100% of myself. Yes, this does help and makes our sessions go well. But this also applies to all the things I am asked to do outside of my workouts. If I apply all the things they recommend for me, which they take special care in creating the correct nutrient plan and tips based off your personal goals and body, this will keep me healthy and uninjured. There is a REASON they give you the material that they do.

3. They Have A Responsibility: To Protect Me

Example: As I mentioned in my last post, my knee was giving me a little bit of an issue this week. I told Shawn I was going to go for a run on Wednesday. He advised me to hold off after what he observed with me in our session Tuesday morning. I was much weaker than I thought.

His job is to protect me. Sometimes that even means protecting me from myself. I REALLY wanted to go for a jog to see how my knee would feel, but he wanted me to rest it. At this point  I was crying inside, because a week off from running when I am preparing for a half marathon, makes me cringe.  I am only at a  4 mile base and I have to get to 13 miles!!  Yes, cringing might even be an understatement!

Turns out, my knee needed more time than a week and we went for two.  Two weeks are nothing, to what a knee injury could do in the long run. It could take me out of the race all together. As hard as it was, I listened and obeyed.

Protecting me also applies to the workouts they create and spotting me. I wish I could put into words the attention to detail Brooke and Shawn put into these two areas. They take very seriously the safety of their clients and adjust the moment they feel you are reaching muscle fatigue.  You may want to keep going, but they WILL stop you.

When you are in a session with them, their focus is on you and you alone.
Too many times I see trainers get distracted by their gym buddies and sometimes it even can make you feel like a third wheel. That is NOT the case with them! When you are in a session, yes people will come by and say hi, but they have made it known that when there is a client before them it will be a “hey man! ” (which I would want them to) but it will not be a full conversation. Your safety and your well-being is ALL that is important to Brooke and Shawn. Again, 5 stars in my book!

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4. I Have A Responsibility: To Trust Them

When you have been through training programs before, you feel you have gained some knowledge about what to expect and what your body should feel like when performing certain exercises. And lets get real honest and say, it sometimes can be hard to fully trust a brand new person in your life. It takes time. Unfortunately, time is something you do not have in the gym. Your trust must be instant until proven otherwise. If trust is lacking there is a real, serious  potential for someone to become injured.

Besides safety, sometimes we can get in our own head and not like a workout because we (you and I) think we know better and should be doing something different to impact muscle “X”.  That is where trust comes in. Shawn and Brooke are introducing me to workouts I have never seen or heard of before. Why? Because I have to modify my workout schedule based on my neck and throat, while still accomplishing my fitness goals.

Last week, we had this exact conversation. They were having me do a movement that was a little odd to me and I said, there is no way that is working muscle “X”. I was severely mistaken! If you think for one second that you are not working the muscle groups they tell you, wait until the next morning.  When you roll out of bed, it basically feels like you fought a ninja in your sleep and you are not really sure if you won or lost the fight. They will make a believer out of you!

5. We ALL Have The Responsibility Of: Communication

Communication is what makes all of these responsibilities blend together to create a beautiful couching relationship. Is it easy? No. Does it take time? Yes. Will it help me reach my goals? Absolutely. Because without communication your trainers will have no idea what is working, what pushes discomfort into pain, what adjustments need to be made both during workout and outside of gym time. In all honesty, the list of why communication is needed by all parties could be a post all its own. But I know you understand the necessity of it. Communication creates,  great results, more confidence, prevention of injury and great relationships.

The most important thing I have found is the way Shawn and Brooke communicate and speak to me. Not only during workouts but outside of workouts as well. By having the constant communication with them through the week, they are never guessing what they want to work on with me, in our next session.  I found it refreshing to get a text the day after my first workout with them to see how I was feeling and asking me if there was anything they needed to be aware of as far as pain or other issues. My first thought was, “Ok, this is normal. First workout they just want to make sure I am not dying and that I am coming back”. Then my next workout came and went, then I received a similar message, which then ended in a phone call to give me tips on how to adjust my protein smoothies due to my food allergies and it still taste good! I knew from that phone call they were going to be completely different from any other trainers I have ever worked with.  It is times such as these, I love being pleasantly surprised.  indexindexindexindexindex

I know a lot of these responsibilities fall more heavily on the trainers, but that is  because they are the professionals. Not you.

As you can tell, I have an amazing team surrounding me during my training. I am truly blessed and so thankful. The best part is, I still have more people  I want to introduce you to as the weeks progress! So make sure to subscribe and follow along!

Blessings and Love,
Deanna

Running

Training Update 06/06/2016

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Good morning to everyone!

I woke up this morning and decided it was time for me to start blogging my training experiences and accomplishments. I have been using a “Fit Journal” that I LOVE! But it gives me limited space. Here, I can share my ups and downs as well as tips I find along the way. I think this will be something I will look back on and be extremely happy I did.

First things first, what is the latest?

The latest is, I am into Week 4 of my 24 Week training program for a Half Marathon.  I am running in November as #StJudeHero in memory of my little cousin. (More on that in my next post!)
This includes two areas of training.
1. Running – gaining mileage and endurance each week
2. Personal Training Sessions (2x/ week)

For example: This Week
Monday: 28 Mins. Workout (2 Min. Run, 2 Min. Walk  –  x 7)
Tuesday: Cross Training: Personal Training Session (Body Weight Workout Only)
Wednesday: 30 Mins. Workout (3 Mins Run, 2 Mins Walk  – x 6)
Thursday: REST
Friday: Cross Training: Personal Training Session (Body Weight Workout Only)
Saturday: Long Run (4 Miles – Intervals)
Sunday: REST

Now, as I am writing this and it is Monday, I will already be making adjustments to the schedule this week.  I woke up this morning and my knee is giving me a little bit of an issue from my long run Saturday. This is the same knee that has given me issues my entire athletic career. Nothing new. Therefore, unless something changes by the time I get off work, I will not be running today.

My personal feelings on this is “LISTEN TO YOUR BODY”!  I have plenty of time to train for my race and there is ZERO sense in doing something that could create an injury. Which ultimately, could make it to where I would not be able to race at all. Trust me, it is not worth it! You work too hard to mess it all up by not listening to yourself. Just enjoy the day off! So that is exactly what I am doing.

Now, I am getting ready work! Listening to music, dancing around the house, loving on my fur babies and enjoying every moment!

I am feeling great and excited about this blog coming back. I have missed it!  I hope all of you will enjoy it as much as I do. This journey is going to be something worth following. PLEASE make sure to subscribe!!!

Blessings and Love, Deanna

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Gardening

#GoingYard

Since before I can remember, I have always been around a garden. My family has always had a working farm that makes up most of my favorite memories. Now that I am married and my grandparents that I spent my summers with working the farm, are now smiling down on me from Heaven,  I knew I had to have my own garden this year to keep a part of them with me during my favorite time of the year. Along the way, I have learned some DIY tips and tricks that might help you with your own garden at home. Making a smaller garden verses a LARGE garden I am used to working in , would make you think it would be SO much easier. I was greatly mistaken. Ha!

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First, I selected what I wanted to grow and how much room I had to grow them in. Starting from seeds is the only way to go. But I did skip this on a few plants, because I wanted to try some new types of tomatoes that a friend (local greenhouse) wanted me to try. Super excited! I will list all the different types at the end of this blog.Then I watched certain parts of the yard to decide just exactly where I would plant these amazing little buds. Where would I get the right amount of sun? This was a really tough decision because I am used to having as much room as I want, due to a farm, and now I had to evaluate what I had to work with and how much room I had.

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Then came the really tough lesson…… underground power lines. REALLY?! You guessed it, I had marked off where I wanted to till and someone told us to call before we started to dig. Sure enough, I didn’t just “kind of” get in the way of the power lines, I picked a section that had the power lines running STRAIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE!  Please, Please Please, call before you dig. This could have been a very costly and dangerous mistake.  I was just not used to this and having large open spaces where I already knew where everything was, it never crossed my mind.

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How did we remedy this? We went to a local store and asked them for any loading palettes they would be getting rid of and inquired if we could take them off their hands. They said “Sure!” We ended up with 6 palettes and only needing to purchase top soil and gardening soil to mix into it. Total of maybe $50. This was such an inexpensive way of doing a raised bed and we will see if it works or not.

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Where I knew I would have some larger plants, my amazing husband removed some of the planks and nailed them onto the sides of the palettes where there might be a hole due to where the forklift would insert to lift. We had exactly enough to do the entire perimeter! It was perfect. Now, I purchased some chicken wire and did my fencing to keep our neighborhood bunnies from thinking this is an “all you can buffet”.

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I will post periodically how this is going and let you know what worked and did not work for me. I am super excited and hope you are as well. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and “Like” my Facebook page to get updates on my garden and other life adventures in-between posts.

Tip 1 of the summer! Use a banana clip to help with flowers or other plants that become too heavy and start to fall towards the ground. Saved me so much time and $$.

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New plants this year: Honeydrop Tomatoes, Pruden’s Purple, Cherokee Purple, Pineapple Tomatoes, Jelly Bean Tomatoes and Little Lois? (doing more research on this one)

Of course I have the usual green beans, peppers, cucumbers and early girl cantaloupe.

Inspirational

Spring Cleaning! This Includes Your Mind

Blog Spring 2015

If you ever think you are alone when feeling down during the winter, believe me when I say this, “You Are Not Alone ! ” Everyone experiences this in one way or another.

During the winter months, people forget how much they actually need the sun. Friends living up North, especially in PA, tell me stories about companies putting Vitamin D lamps into their offices to make sure employees get some exposure to sunlight during the “Gray Season”, even if it is artificial.

Due to the weather, we often find ourselves stuck in doors, or having days upon days of cloud coverage that prevent the sun from shining on us. Soon we start to feel down, cranking, edgy and overall just EW!

So with Spring quickly approaching us, I came up with a “Spring Cleaning” for your mind. How Fun! People do cleanses for their body to stay healthy, why not do a mental one? Once winter is over, take this day the first opportunity you can and get. Do not put it off!

First let me state: I am not a doctor. I am not a scientist, a nutritionist nor do I suggest anyone doing any physical activity without being cleared from their physician. Shew, now that, that is out-of-the-way…. 😉

Last Saturday, it was our day.  The sun was out, the temperature was about 70 degrees (basically a heat wave from what we have had the last few months) so my husband and I took an “unplugged” day to be outside. We hiked, walked, played with the dogs, grilled outside and just talked. It was the perfect day.  Now, when I say “unplugged” day, are phones are still on due to the nature of our work, however, we make a valiant and conscious effort to not be on them. Only in an emergency. If you have the ability to turn your phones off, I HIGHLY recommend it. The temptation is gone at that point.

During our “unplugged day” we talked about everything from, what the last year has been like from my tonsil surgery, people we lost through the year 2014, special events (EASTER!!! YAY!) on our calendar that are coming, what we were going to eat for dinner ha! and anything else that we could possibly come up with. I feel when we do this, it is a full mental cleanse for me and for him. Basically, we talk until you are “talked out” . And for me, literally I lose my voice by the end of it and can’t talk anymore. It is awesome!  However, there is one rule to this day. For every topic you come up with, if it is sad,  you have to counter that story with a special/happy memory that also included the same topic.

Let me give you an example:

Talking about a passing of a family member:

Talk about them! Talk about how much you miss them. Talk about how it makes you angry or sad. Talk about how you feel it is unfair or “how could this happen?”. Let it out. Do not hold those feelings in.

Counter story: Then when you are finish, start talking about your favorite memories with them. The ones that brings an instant smile to your face or makes you laugh even when tears are pouring down your cheeks. I feel the worst thing you can ever do after loosing someone, is stop talking about them. Too many times I have seen this done with families and it ends up hurting the other members of your family even more. Everyone grieves differently, but I highly encourage to make an effort, when you are ready, to talk about them. Once you are done, you will feel amazing. It is my version of a mental cleanse. Take something sad or angry and challenge yourself to end on a happy note involving the same situation.

When you have these conversations outside, in the sun, walking or doing something active, you will be amazed at how it makes you feel. The winter makes it much harder to let things out or have the ability to move past something due to the effect Vitamin D has on your body and mind. Because it is cold outside, we tend to just sit in the house and dwell on thing. This is NOT good. So take action. Do not let Old Man Winter get the best of you!

With Spring time comes hope, new life, a fresh start. Take time with a loved one and try talking about things you have kept hidden inside during the “Gray Season” and let the sunshine be the thing that warms your tears and turn them into laughs of love.

Take time to “unplug” and do a mental cleanse. Because without it, things will continue to hold you back, not allowing you to enjoy the amazing things that are ahead of you….

Love and Blessings,

Deanna

Movie Reviews

More Than A Slipper | Cinderella Review

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First, let me start off by saying that I am a BIG Disney fan and write this with a classic and modern Disney point of view. At first, I was a big skeptic of the classical princesses and other characters coming to life on the big screen as real people. But was pleasantly surprised with Cinderella. I will do my reviews of the other movies (Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty etc.) in separate posts.

The reason for the title of my blog post comes specifically from the emphasis the movie placed on Ella’s shoes before she was ever a young lady, before there was a glass slipper. They were blue in color and common. Something she had on every day and used to dance on the feet of her father. The imagery was brilliant.  Those shoes, just like the house the family loved, were her happy memories. She never replaced those  “everyday” shoes until Prince Charming married her and changed her home. He became her new home and a home to build new, happy memories.

The beginning of the movie had a wonderful family feel. The filtering used made it warm and inviting without it seeming “dreamy” or hazy. The costuming and details in and around the home were a great fit. Even when her stepsisters stepped out of the carriage. They had very similar characteristics and costuming as in the original movie, just updated slightly. And more BLING8aaa6f179fdfbcd681f2c88ddbe66c8c

There were a few details that were added that I felt enhanced the storyline  without ruining the experience for a “Classical Cinderella Lover“. These included, her mother and the illness that took her away and the explanation of how Cinderella came to live in the attic. Both of these are not really explained in the original film.

The details that were kept from the original film, I applaud the director and producers for using. It made this Disney heart very happy. The first, were of course, the mice and her barn yard friends. The second, were the bells that hung on the wall that summon Cinderella to her stepmother and stepsisters. Even the terrible singing of stepsister at the piano was included.  Then lastly, the pink color chosen for the dress she wanted to wear for the ball. Yes, it was said in this movie it was her mother’s. In the original, all the animals created it from scratch. I enjoyed the connection of her mother, even if it was not in the original.

Some details to note:

  • The goose that dances in the archway of the home from aerial view
  • Hidden Mickey’s in the glass of the front doors of the house
  • The pumpkin on top of the carriage, the detailing was beautiful and timeless
  • The pumpkin seeds inside the pumpkin as it changes back with Cinderella in it.
  • Cinderella’s dress design for the ball, again similar, but beautifully updated
  • The comedy in the lizards/footmen
  • Ballroom chandeliers – AMAZING , in fact the entire ballroom. It reminded me of a scene from Phantom of the Opera.
  • The climatic effect of the bell ringers. With every stroke of the bell tower, the intensity grew. Seeing it strike the bell sent chills down my arms.
  • Editing catch – when riding the horse, you can see the reins, made out of black braided rope. She tries to hide them with the horse’s hair. But you can see it in a few screens. You will also notice, they really try to never show the horse’s mouth during those scenes to avoid showing the harness or bit. They did an awesome job, just missed it a few seconds. You really have to look for it.

There were two details I did not particularly care for. First, the illness and death of the King. He should have been there for the wedding of his son. In the original film the comedy between the King and the Duke, brought laughter and fun to children of all ages.  Especially when they are bouncing high into the air from the mattress of the King’s bed, arguing like siblings.  Second, the lack of singing/music. I feel if they had added some of the songs (even in rendition) it would have greatly improved a few of the scenes that I felt were dragging.

All in all, I think they did an amazing job on this film and TWO THUMBS way, way up for one of my favorite actresses Helena Bonham Carter. I loved her before, but I love her even more after this film. She was beautiful, quirky and fun and still made every magical moment of ” bibbity bobbity boo” memorable in a new way.

To all my princesses out there! Enjoy, it is a magical  film. pT5b68gqc

Inspirational

Company Coming!

When I posted this week about my blog coming back, I was super excited and ready to get started. But I completely forgot company was coming and I was nowhere near ready to have people over. It was cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. And where in the world do all the socks go? Seriously, that has to be the most frustrating thing about being married. The missing sock!

But anyway, rant over. I began cleaning, grocery shopping and getting so excited about our special guest, I forgot to write the other day. Sorry! We had an amazing time with him and I learned so much about opera. Oh, did I mention he is a trained opera singer? WOW!  I did film while he sang at church and I am in the process of editing and getting that ready for all of you. I hope you love it as much as we did. It might take me a day or two to get  uploaded, but a sneak peek will be posted here. So keep checking!

Here is the sneak peek link! https://youtu.be/vmmE_zb4_rE 

You can also follow me on twitter and Facebook to get updates when the editing is complete. Make sure to leave me comments below! I love responding to comments and questions. It is my favorite!

Happy Sunday!

Inspirational

#Live2Inspire1 Is Back!

Since my last post of getting married, my world drastically changed. This last year and a half has been the most exciting, stressful, fun-loved, anxious and completely AWESOME time of my life. And to be 100% honest, I forgot that I had started a blog until I began to feel like I had made big strides past my surgery. “Surgery?”,  you might ask. Well, if you follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… (and if you don’t, why not?!) then you know I had my tonsils out last April; April 2014. Yes, just a short few months after I got married in October of 2013. Since then, it has been recovering, working, learning, lose of loved ones, becoming a Pastor’s wife, sister’s wedding, becoming a business owner and braces! Teeth braces that is….

New Header Photo From Last Year’s Events!

With all the best of intentions, I began this blog to document and share my adventures as a newly married woman. It could be anything from advice, cooking, Pastor’s wife experiences, young professional inspiration, struggles of a small business, Aspiring American Sign Language Interpreters, Working with the Deaf Community, marketing & advertising mistakes and overall living to inspire one person in whatever way God had planned for me. Now that things have started to slow down, I want to bring this blog back to life! Please share, comment, follow and join me on this wonderful road ahead. Tomorrow, I will start filling you in on exactly “what” has been going on since my last post. See you then!

Inspirational

Check-In

Good morning to all! You have probably been asking “where have you been?” Well, I have had an amazing  life event happen and the love of my life and I am getting MARRIED! He popped the big question May 14th and it has been nonstop since. I could not be happier. More posts to come and excited to see what God has in store for us!
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Inspirational

Inspirational Quote for Sunday

“Not every day is going to offer us a chance to save somebody’s life, but every day offers us an opportunity to affect one.” -unknown

You have probably heard the phrase “pay it forward”. It is a wonderful act of kindness and a neat way to make someone’s day. What you may not know is, this act has been going on way before it became a tagline. It has been going on since the beginning of time. However, you did not hear about it as often because we did not have social media, news was only shown in your home town and the World was round. (This is a reference to a book “The World is Flat”)

The other thing about this act of kindness that has changed is, it was done discretely, without drawing attention to their self and normally without being seen. It was a personal sacrifice to help someone in need or someone who was struggling.

Now, I am not saying that the “pay it forward” in a drive-thru is not a great thing; It is. But the act of “paying it forward” is more than a monetary value.

Challenge yourself this week, to step out of your comfort zone. Try an act of kindness, that is more than buying someone’s meal, when they are already in line to pay.

Lets build our community outreach beyond our Drive-thru ministries. Let this be the starting point. The possibilities are endless. Use your imagination and see where we can grow from there.

God gave the ultimate gift of Paying it forward with giving us his son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins.

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