Have you talked to a stranger today?

photo-1He stood on the edges of the crowded café of Barnes & Noble. His eyes wandered around looking carefully for a spot to sit. I looked up at the older man and wondered to myself, what was his story? Why was he here?

Nobody seemed to be moving from their tables. Everyone was focused on their own life, on their own apparent reality. Sidetracked by computer screens, books, people, conversations, and coffee. Everyone living in their own little world next to everyone else’s own little world. Not with each other, but next to each other.

I just sat at my little table in the corner. My favorite spot. My table was tucked away and provided the perfect amount of window light and the ever-so-lucky open outlet. Comfort on the fringes of the greater society.

Looking at the man still standing there, three thoughts entered my mind. 1.) I like this corner table spot that I am sitting at and I want to sit here until the end of the afternoon. 2.) I should get up and let this older man take my space. It would make him happy. And 3.) I was sitting alone at a table for two, maybe I should invite him to sit with me.

It was one of those built up feelings you get when you are anxious, excited, and are pushed just a little bit outside of your comfort zone by your thoughts. You want to take action but something is holding you back. Why could I not get up off of the chair to walk over to this man? As my brain fought within itself, a woman in the middle of the café got up to leave and the old man now had a place to sit. Relief. Or so I thought.

My intent had then changed from finding this man a seat, to a genuine interest in him, his interactions with others, and the way in which he set up his table for two. He picked out a special chair from the neighboring table to set up across from him. He sat at his table alone, pulled out a magazine and occasionally peered up as if he was looking for the person who was to sit in the special seat.

You could say that I enjoy people watching and I would certainly agree with you. But I think that it is much more than that. For me, it is more than casually watching people, seeing what they are wearing or who they are with. It is more so about observing their interactions with humanity and with the environment in which they are living.

For me people watching is about wondering what the world would be like if all of the separate lives that we live were lived together. If we didn’t live in a world where it was weird or awkward to go to a coffee shop or restaurant and sit down with a complete stranger. I wonder what a connected world would look like. A world truly connected through personal interactions, not through social media. What would a world of breaking our socially constructed norms look like?

I knew that at some point I wanted to walk over and ask this man a question. Show an interest in a random person I will never see again. Become socially aware and involved in the greater world around me. Live with people instead of next to them. I wondered if I would get the courage to stand up out of my seat and go over to him. To say hello and to ask about life. To show that maybe we do not have to live independent lives in our own little worlds.

I was not sure what would get me out of the chair and try this social experiment. Literally as this thought entered into my head, the answer appeared at my table.

“How are you doing today?” asked a man who I am assuming was the manager.

“I’m doing well, thank you.” I responded.

“Will you be joining us for coffee or cookies today?”

I sat there slightly confused wondering if maybe they were having some sort of special event in the store. I answered with a hesitant no and he responded with more of a demanding response.

“I ask that you please pack up your things and move to the chairs over there. We are very busy today”. He pointed to the awkward chairs by the magazines with no tables that nobody ever wants to sit in.

I am assuming that my lack of coffee cup initiated him approaching me. I was slightly annoyed as I began packing up my things because I had certainly spent my money there before on numerous occasions, just not today.

Nevertheless, I knew that this was my sign. I did not know what would get me up out of the chair until this man literally came over to me and told me to get up. I knew where I was headed next.

I fixed my eyes on the older man still sitting alone in the middle of the café and walked right over to him. I said, “Hello sir, how are you doing today?” The man looked up with a smile on his face and responded with a generic answer of something in the category of “good.” I asked him if he minded if I asked him a question and he said sure.

I asked the man, “If you could give one piece of advice to another person on how to live their life, what would it be?” His glance turned from my face to the magazine on the table in front of him. I knew that he was thinking. After a few seconds he turned his glance back up to me and said, “I know it isn’t easy, but my advice is to figure out what you want and get it.”I asked him if he had been able to do this in his life. His response was that he had not, but it was advice that he has given his daughter.

My question lead to a short conversation about life, school, Pittsburgh, football, reading, where my question had come from, and how I wished to write a book someday. During our conversation a woman had come and sat down with him. I said goodbye and he wished me well.

Stepping out of my comfort zone is something that I have not done for a while. It is something that I believe is vital to our growth and is vital to helping us determine our purpose for being alive. This is only my first encounter of many to come in my attempts to not live next to people, but live with them. I look forward to my next encounter and can only hope that the experience is as rewarding as my encounter with the man at Barnes & Noble.

 

Free Yourself From the Clutter

Thirteen. The number of boxes.

The number of boxes that had been piling up underneath and cluttered around the ping pong table in the basement of my house. Boxes that are filled with memories. Memories of high school, Shippensburg University, and Messiah College. Memories of track meets, friends, roommates, classes that I defeated, and classes that defeated me.

These boxes held it all. Papers I wrote in high school and college, church newsletters that had been sent to my college addresses, Halloween and birthday cards, rubrics, lesson plans, lifting schedules, and even a letter that I sent to Proctor & Gamble years ago concerning a commercial idea that I had for their Tide to Go stick.

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Pencils, pens, socks, cds, projects, cups, plates, race bibs, old textbooks, and pictures. Pictures of friends who came in to my life for a period and are now only a distant memory. Pictures of teams, of family, and of people who I know will remain my best friends until the day I die.

You name it, I found it. In those boxes.

In those thirteen boxes that continued to pile up over the last six years of my educational life.

It was the same story every year. It would be move-out day and my dad would drive to my college to pack up the car. Of course my friends and I never began the packing process until the night before we had to be moved out. When my father would arrive the following day my disaster of a desk would still be waiting for the box or boxes that were on their way to save it. Everything went in the box. The box went from the dorm room to the car. From the car to my house and ended up right next to the boxes from the previous years where it would wait until it was joined by the new set of boxes the following year.

On January 25th, I will be returning back to Oregon to continue working with the Boys & Girls Club through another 6-month AmeriCorps service term. I felt as though this time before leaving would be a great time to finally go through these boxes and take a look back at the last six years of my life.

It can be quite a daunting task. You see such a large portion of your life sitting in front of you. You look at it and know that it will be messy both physically and mentally. Digging things up from the past. Things that remind you of who you once were and what you once hoped for. Things that remind you of paths you were going down before signs started leading you in different directions.

Over the past few days I have had the opportunity to re-live the past 6 years of my life from running at Nationals in Texas while attending Shippensburg, to discovering my Creation Project I made my first semester at Messiah, to finding each and every notebook from every class that I have taken during this time period.

I challenge you to de-clutter your life with the start of this New Year. Both a physical and mental de-cluttering. Start with the physical. Maybe you don’t have thirteen boxes to go through, but I am sure that there is some area of your home or office that could use a little help. Get rid of everything you do not use and have not used. Throw it out. You do not need it. It is freeing. Your physical space and your mental space are connected. Somehow the throwing away of ten years of old clothes will not only free up the physical space but will leave your mind feeling less cluttered as well. Try it and see!

As I sat down to blog today, I asked my dad what one possession he owns that he has kept the longest, where he got it from, and why he has kept it for so long. His response was a shirt that his parents gave him his senior year in high school. He kept it through all of these years because of the good memories that he associates with it. Good memories of his youth and time spent with old friends during a different place in time.

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We all have physical things in our lives that we do not want to throw away. Memories in our lives can be woven into our possessions like the fabric that makes a shirt. While donating and throwing away our possessions can be a hard task to do, discarding of what is not needed allows us to feel free and to be free. It allows us to have space and to appreciate what truly matters. During my de-cluttering I most definitely saved my good luck signs, track and field secret sister notes, some birthday notes, and picture collages. I look forward to the time years from now when I pull this box out of the closet to reminisce about some truly amazing times.

Not only should we work on de-cluttering the physical realm of our lives, but the mental realm as well. As I previously stated, downsizing the physical is a good start to downsizing the mental realm as it allows you to create a new appreciation for your world. The start of a new year is a great time to look inside, look back on your year, and rid your mind of the clutter. Of what is causing you stress and tension. It is a time to forgive those whom you hold grudges against. Let go of your pain and hurt from the past year.

Take it out of your mental box, look at it, acknowledge it’s presence in your life, figure out who if anyone you need to forgive, do it, and then dispose of it and set yourself free.

De-cluttering will allow for space in our lives. A space that is meant to remain empty. When we free ourselves of this clutter, we will free ourselves from that which we are bound allowing us to fill our lives with simplicity and life.

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Follow your heart’s true joy-fulfilling passion

You may or may not have known, but I spent the past year serving with AmeriCorps at a Boys & Girls Club. Above all else, this experience has taught me about true fulfilling joy.

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In sum what I have discovered is that true joy is not found through anything that you receive. You find true joy through what you give. It is found in celebrating the successes of others and in feeling a fulfillment you only experience when you embrace someone else’s reason to smile.

I have discovered a type of love that I have termed need-love. It is a love that can be directly connected with joy. When someone counts on you and you are willing to protect them and support them with all that you have. When a child loses a friend or family member, is struggling with who they are, struggling with their home life, there is nothing that makes you feel more needed or more internally fulfilled than the feeling of someone turning to you when they do not have that support elsewhere. One of the most fulfilling experiences of joy is through helping someone in their time of need return a smile back to their beautiful face.

This need love is not a one-way street. Although you may be fulfilling the needs of someone else, whether you know it or not, they are somehow filling a need that you may or may not know you had. You do not go about looking for these people. They just come, impact your life and you wonder what you ever could have done without them entering in. Soon you find yourself wanting to be there for them, which then brings you back to joy.

Deep, deep down inside of every heart is a hole– a hole that we all too often try to fill with materialistic things of this world. This year I had thought that I felt a distancing from God, but really I had just stopped looking for Him. While I was not pursuing Him, He was still pursuing me. What filled the hole for me was this deep feeling of joy that now when looking back on it, I know only came from the Lord and using the passion I had been given. He was with me from the start and this joy that I found was evidence that He lives inside of me and was working on me even when I could not see it. Now that I am back in Pennsylvania, I can see that I was connected to my faith all along. Maybe I just needed to leave Oregon so that my foggy vision could be made clear.

Everyone has been given a gift or a passion that can be used to help others. Everyone. God would not give us a true good-hearted passion that he would not want us to use.

Do you wake up in the morning and cannot wait to begin your day? Are you doing what you truly love and what you are most passionate about? Is your heart filled with this joy, with this feeling of completeness? Imagine what the world would be like if everyone did what they were passionate about everyday.

I have been asked a countless number of times since returning to PA, “What’s next?” When sharing a few potential ideas about my future I have been told, “That is a great step up from what you were doing” and that I will “keep working my way up”. Instead of looking at what the next step is, look at the now and analyze what gives you joy. We all too often like to plan our lives out with the overly used 5-year plan. By using this 5-year plan you may be missing out on your true joy and passion that is trying to reveal itself to you in the meantime.

I think of the path that I am to take with my degree. Sure, I could go down that road which would give me more money than some of my other avenues. But what is money when my joy lies elsewhere? At the end of my life am I going to wish that I settled into this mold that we call life or am I going to wish that I explored every path and avenue?

I will not be confined by what reality appears to be but only be the passion that is in my heart. When your heart sets your soul’s passion on fire, YOU are unstoppable.

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love.” – Maya Angelou

When you follow your heart’s passion, the joy that you feel will be contagious.

 

“Bucket of Yellow”, aka “The Bucket of Happy”, aka “The Happy Bucket”

IMG_1580About halfway through the school year at the Boys & Girls Club I put a blue bucket in my room at the club. I called it the “Happy Bucket.” The idea was based off of a journal that I started a year and a half ago that contains things that make me happy, smile, laugh, or feel blessed. My book currently contains 980 items and I am getting quite excited for the happy dance that I will have when I reach 1,000. Some things are small and rather insignificant, while other items made a huge impact on my life. Items range from Here Comes the Sun Pandora, leftover board meeting food, and Frostys in Coos Bay to seaweed, sunshine in Eugene and the Barko’s Bible study.

My final year in college my Nana gave me a book entitled, 14,000 Things to Be Happy About. The book is essentially a list of things that make the author happy. After reading through a few of her items that made my roommates and I giggle, we decided to each start a book of our own.

In my room at the Boys & Girls Club sat this blue bucket filled with yellow slips of happy phrases. The directions were simple:

What makes you happy?

1. Take a slip of paper.

2. Write down something that made you happy today.

3. Put it in the bucket.

Let’s see how much happiness we can fill the bucket with.

The first day that I put the blue bucket out, it was one of my activities for the day. As members would enter my room I would direct them to this bucket. Eventually, this bucket was placed on my side counter next to my Member of the Month Bulletin Board, member’s artwork, the Bored Jar, and popular books that members would enjoy.

Sometimes I would gather a few members to walk around the Club with the bucket and ask other members to put some yellow in the bucket. It made me so happy to see these kids encouraging their peers to think about things that make them happy. For most of the year though, the bucket of happy would sit on the side counter and be visited daily by its usual visitors.

There were many members who would frequently stick a yellow slip into the bucket. Occasionally I would check out the new level of yellow and a smile would be brought to my face. How can your day not be made when you look at childrens’ happiness of bacon, God, video games, staff Katie, candy, or sunshine? How can your heart not be filled with joy after seeing what brings other’s joy?

Out of all of the members who slipped some happy into the bucket, there were two teen girls that I will never forget. Every day, and I mean every day, these two girls would giddily gallop into my room with huge smiles, take a slip of paper, and record their happy moment for the day. Sometimes when these girls would arrive, my room would not yet be opened. Many times I would be in the Games Room when they got to the Club, which was right outside of my door. I would usually wait in the Games Room until more members arrived before opening up my room for the rest of the day.

When I was not open, these girls would run up to me, yelling my name, and tell me that I HAD to open my room. They had something that they MUST add to the bucket. I would open my room just for them to go in and add their happy. Skipping to the bucket, they would put in their happy, thank me, and skip right back out of the room. One day was especially memorable as they brought a new friend who proceeded to sing and dance to the song Happy while his friends made their daily deposit.

Before leaving the Boys & Girls Club and returning back to Pennsylvania last week after my AmeriCorps service year ended, I gave each of these two girls a Happy Book of their own so that they could continue to record these memories and so they could look back on these items when they needed a boost or when they needed to be reminded of a happy time. I wrote each girl a note and ended with the following quote:

            Take your time.

            Take chances.

            Believe in possibility.

            Do something creative every day.

            Do what makes your heart sing.

            Inspire others.

            Inspire yourself.

On the very last day that I was at the Club, I asked one of the girls how her Happy Book was going. She told me that she had written something every day since she received the book three weeks before and that she even has her sister now writing in a Happy Book. I truly could not have been happier. As my Uncle Tim had once shared with me, “Joy is something deeper than happiness and is found in helping others.” This quote has taken on a whole new meaning in my life after spending a year at the Boys & Girls Club of the Umpqua Valley. Seeing a member laugh or smile is what made me truly love the opportunity that I was fortunate to have for the last year.

 Spread the Happy.

Pressing On

10523312_10152576702109859_3780536739924629184_nAn adventure awaited me on a path that was not yet paved. A long dirt path with hills, sharp turns, rocky terrain, and mountains was covered by trees waiting for my first footprints to be made in its surface. I knew that the path was long and that the terrain would constantly be changing along the way.

The stretches of flat dirt path were easy to take on. I knew where I was going and I stepped forward in confidence. In confidence that I could take on the journey and terrain ahead. I had my faith, was happy, and knew that this journey was going to be great. Although everything was going well I knew that there was something that I was looking for, so I continued pressing on.

Then there were stretches of path that were rocky. These parts took some effort to make sure that the ground that I was standing on was stable. I had to balance and I had to focus. Although there were rocks in my path at times, I still pressed on even though there was some resistance. But I knew that there was something that I was looking for, so I pressed on.

As I continued down the road I discovered that I began to climb a mountain. There were times on this mountain that I felt defeated, where I lost the faith and where I felt alone. But I knew that there was something that I was looking for, so I pressed on.

Although I knew something was lost, I did not know what it was. I did not know where to look or which way to turn. But I knew that there was something that I was looking for, so I pressed on.

I can see the end of this dirt path up ahead. This road has taken me to some beautiful places both on the outside and on the inside.

I have spoken up. I have stated what I believe. I have been honest with myself and with others.

I have gained new life perspectives, knowledge, and friendships.

I knew this whole time that there was something that I was looking for, so I continued pressing on. At the end of this dirt path I can see what it was that was lost. That something is now found.

And that something that I found, is me.

Get out of the Comfortable

When I graduated college in May of 2013, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I did know that I did not want to do much related to the degree that I graduated with. Growing up in the same home in the same town and going to college within a short IMG_0558distance from home gave me the itch to go somewhere new and see something different. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. Although I had this itch, and even though I applied for a few AmeriCorps programs in Oregon, North Carolina, and Maryland, I never actually thought that I would go. I did not think that I was strong enough to take on such an adventure. I entertained the thoughts in the back of my head but felt protected in my bubble. In my comfort zone.

I chose to search out the AmeriCorps options as I have always enjoyed the experience of volunteering. My heart has always been for children and having the opportunity to give my time for a year to volunteer at a non-profit organization that supported and encouraged them sounded like a great way to spend a year.

When my summer was coming to a close and I was still at a loss for what my upcoming year would hold, I received a series of phone calls concerning potential positions–  two of which lead me nowhere, while the other call left me surprised as I was almost sure that I never finished filling out the application.

I had 3 days from the phone call to decide whether or not to go to Oregon two weeks later. While re-organizing some boxes from college I discovered the book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg. I had purchased the book after team devotionals at the beginning of my last year in college but never got around to reading it. This was the perfect time to read it. Reading this book was one of those times when you feel that God is speaking directly to you. I recommend it to anyone and everyone. For me, it gave me a HUGE encouraging push to get out of the boat, out of the comfortable.

The only thing that would stop me from leaving home was fear. And it was because of this fear that I ultimately left. I would not let fear steal my dreams. I knew that God had a plan and would not bring me across the country for nothing.

With great struggle comes growth.
When fear is present, your dreams are dead.
While courage is needed to make the choice,
You know deep down where it is that you are called to go.
For when the Lord calls on you, you will know.
You will feel as though you have no choice but to obey,
To listen to the Lord.
It is a feeling.
A feeling that once you have, you know.
For true faith does not always seem clear in your head.
But when God tugs on your heart you will know.
And you will know exactly where it is that you are to be.

When I arrived in Oregon and was reunited with my car that had kindly been driven acrossIMG_0694 the country for me, I found a CD in the CD player that had been forgotten. The CD was The Shelter, by Jars of Clay. I played this CD from Newberg, Oregon to my new home in Roseburg. The CD remained in my player for the next 3 months straight and I listened to it practically every time I got in the car. It soon became what I have termed my Oregon Soundtrack. During my time here, it has given me much encouragement as the words always seem to speak at the right time. As I’ve said before, thank you for forgetting.

Pulling into Roseburg on that first day, I still remember thinking that I was not strong enough to make it through the year. While I knew that I was where I was suppose to be for this time of my life, my mind was still preventing me from fully trusting in God. Pulling into town that first day, these were the words that I heard on the CD. They have stuck with me ever since.

Set us free
Trust the mystery
Until our eyes are clear enough to see you
Where you lead us
We will follow
Where you lead us
We will follow
Open up our hearts and reach inside
Open up our hearts and reach inside (We Will Follow, Jars of Clay)

No journey is easy. Every journey has its ups and downs. It has times of success and times of struggle. It is in those times of struggle and change that you truly find yourself. Those times that you step out of the comfortable and into the unknown. You find out what you believe, what you stand for, and what you are living for.

1470101_10200921604870144_2006303707_nI knew from the start of my journey that I wanted to put this year aside to think about my life and think about the direction in which I wanted to take it and I could not be happier with what all God has shown me or lead me to discover. From the start of my journey I was shown true genuine love as I was taken in by the most loving family when I had nowhere to live. They did not know me; they did not ask questions. It was not an option to them– I did not have a home and they were going to take care of me for however long it took. I was fed, invited to family functions, and I felt like I was apart of the family. I am very grateful for the time that I spent with them and have been blessed by this genuine care and love that they have shown me.

AmeriCorps in Roseburg was the best decision that I could have made for this year. I have finally gotten out of the comfortable. I have learned to speak my mind and express what I believe is true. I have discovered why it is so important to be honest with yourself and to speak how you feel. I have discovered a confidence in the words I speak. I have learned that each person is a product of their environment and past experiences. I have learned that each person has their own story and that each person deserves your undivided attention. I have found peace in frequent journaling and relaxation in alone time. I have discovered a new appreciation for the sun and the light that it brings to the Earth.

I have personally experienced the fullfillness that a card of appreciation or thanks can bring. I have pondered my impact in this town but have been constantly reminded of the impact that this town has made on me. I witnessed how a simple compliment can make a day and how simply showing an interest in someone can turn their day around. I have seen love all around- from many, many hugs and excitement from the sound of your name, to seeing friend’s interactions with fiancés, to a hug from a stranger at church when you find yourself crying tears of confusion and sadness. Most of all I have been reminded that your life and your time on Earth is a precious gift. I have learned that in order to truly live, your body and your mind must be in the same place.

My journey is not yet over. I still have a few months until the end of my journey as an AmeriCorps member in Roseburg, Oregon. The end of this year’s journey will only mark the start of my next journey to come and the next boat for me to step out of.

I have learned this year that I am stronger than I think. 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”- 2 Corinthians 12:9

Do not let fear steal your dreams.

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May You Have Hope Shining Like The Sun

It was a Friday morning and all I wanted to do was stay in my bed under my warm sheets. I am not a morning person. I would not say that I am grumpy in the morning, I would just rather stay up late than get up early. In addition, things have been more challenging for me here after returning from my Christmas break and my sheets were providing a comfort that I did not want to leave. Unfortunately with my work schedule the only time for a track workout is the morning, so I have been forced to become more of a morning person than I ever thought I would be. So, I laid there in my bed and knew that if I did not make my way to the track on this dark, foggy, Oregon morning that I would regret it for the rest of the day. So, I got out of bed and quickly got ready as I had snoozed one too many times. I made my way to the school where the fog was so thick that I could not see the track.

After warming up, I began my first 600m repeat. I was not too happy with my time and was not encouraged by the thick fog, cold air, and air stagnation alerts that are to continue throughout the weekend. I was determined to improve my time for the next 600m. My next two times were slightly faster. As I began to get slightly frustrated with myself for not running the times that I had run last fall, I reminded myself of the obvious that I am still getting back into training and that I am coming back slowly. Progression is key.

After finishing 600m number three, I knew that I only had time for one more 600m before I had to head to work. Huffing with frozen air stagnation-lungs I made my way back to the start. The moment I put my foot on the start line, the fog began to rise as the sun came out. The immediate feeling that I felt was hope (no, not just for an improved 600 time) and my spirits began to rise. I stepped on the line with this feeling of hope and with a relaxed mind. I hit my watch and began my final 600m as the fog continued to rise and as the sun continued to break through the Oregon sky.

IMG_1122At my first step, a poem was being written in my head. With each step words built upon words from the step before. All I remember from this poem are the words: sun, hope, challenge, family, and friends. That is it. I know that words of encouragement, beautiful words, had been created yet I cannot remember them. I ran with a feeling of hope and happiness as the sun continued to shine through. I have never experienced anything like this before. Ever. I do not know where the words came from. All I know is that they were beautiful, encouraging, and that the experience was surreal. Crossing the finish line after this 600m I do remember the last phrase of the poem, “And you look up to the sun and realize that you really aren’t that far away after all.”

While missing home, there are no other words that I can imagine that would encourage me more. I looked up to the sun and I knew that friends and family back home were looking up to the same sun. I did my workout on this cold January morning and knew that people all over the world were doing their workouts at the same time as I was. I thought about just how small the world really is. There is one sun. One sun that gives light to us all. One sun that shines on the world. We are all connected. A light that shines in the United States, Togo, England, Chile, and Brazil. A light that allows plants to grow and people to see. There is just something about the sun that brightens our days, lifts our spirits, and gives us hope. It is a pick-me-up.

While in distance, I am many, many miles away from the comfortable, I am encouraged by the fact that the sun that shines in Oregon is the same sun that shines in Pennsylvania. And because of this, I feel so much closer to home.

After leaving the track still mesmerized by the experience, the realizations, and the thoughts that were now running through my head, I thought further about that last phrase that I remember as I crossed the finish line, “And you look up to the sun and realize that you really aren’t that far away after all.” My mind started going down a path. A path that had me thinking about how short our lives really are. I was reminded of how important it is to follow the direction that I believe God is calling me in. I do not want to go about trying to do my own thing when my real purpose, God’s plan, is not being fulfilled.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”- Matthew 5:14-16

I am reminded that I need to be a light of hope to others who may be struggling or who need a listening ear.  My devotional for today that I read after returning home from the workout was entitled, “Prescribed by God to Make a Difference”. The Uncommon Key to think about was this: “Is the way you are living your life making a difference in someone else’s? Someone you wouldn’t readily gravitate to? There may be bigger things that Christ calls you to than what seems obvious.

I am reminded that right now it is my time to make a difference and be a light of hope to someone who needs it.