"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Monday, May 31, 2010

Rest, Relaxation, Recovery, and Running!

Kiki and I have been on vacation at the beaches of South Walton, Florida for a few days. Now, we are back home in Birmingham and it's back to work.
I'll be posting my review of the Fargo Marathon, reflections of our visit to the beach, and so much more this week. I'll also be outlining our TEAM 413 event schedule for the next few months. I've got much catching up to do after a lot of resting, relaxing, recovery, and running!
As for now, please continue to pray for TEAM 413. We cannot survive without fundraising to keep our ministry moving forward. The gifts are not coming in like we had anticipated at this point in time. You can go to the following link to make a contribution:
Until later this week ... Remember --
"Never allow your circumstances to dictate your character. Instead allow your faith in Christ to show through in the midst of any circumstance that may pass your way."
I needed that reminder today myself!
Under HIS Grace...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Committed! Yes or No?

The man in the picture above is Joe Marti from Knoxville, Tennessee. He is an amazing man with a heart for service in so many ways. He supports TEAM 413. He gives his time and money to causes in his community. He loves animals and supports causes for their betterment. Joe Marti is also committed, tough, tenacious, dedicated, motivated, and loves the Lord with all of his heart.
I really appreciate the picture of Joe at the 2010 Knoxville Marathon for many reasons. I love the fact that you can see the characteristics that he possesses in the look on his face. He is moving forward regardless of the elements. He is focused no matter the circumstances that come his way. He is steadfast in achieving his goal. He is determined to go the distance and finish strong! To him, there is no turning back -- there is no quitting. He moves forward under God's grace.
Over the past few months I have been somewhat disheartened by the way people have responded to our TEAM 413 fundraising campaign. I thought that we would be able to go the distance and finish strong. Some have committed and I am so thankful for their gifts. Others promised to help and have not been able to follow through because of very good reasons. Their good intentions just got sidetracked by life circumstances. But, there are some who have said that they believe in our ministry and want to help, we've given them a chance, and we have heard nothing from them. I've asked a dozen major companies across the country for help and they have all told me that they cannot help at this time. It's amazing at the lack of support that a ministry with TEAM 413's reach has received over the first five months of 2010.
Back in January we set a lofty goal to raise $250,000 in 2010. To date, we have raised $11,355 of which $8,450 has been raised by FOUR people. To put this in perspective, in order to reach our goal we needed to raise $20,000 per month for the entire year. That means that by the end of May we should have raised $100,000! We are behind by $88,645. I'm growing weary of asking people to give over and over again because I feel like I'm burdening them. I simply don't know what to do anymore. So, after much prayer, we are going to start from scratch. Effective today, we are lowering our 2010 goal to $75,000. We've got about 7 months to raise the remaining $63,645. That equates to $9,092 per month for the remainder of the year.
Unfortunately, lowering our financial goal means that we will also have to lower our other goals that were tied to our fundraising efforts. We'll have to trim back our schedule for the summer and fall. We'll continue with an all volunteer staff. And, Kiki and I will continue to operate the entire TEAM 413 ministry out of a home office and storage area. We are simply going to decrease the goal to a dollar amount that will, hopefully, keep us out on the roads and get us to as many events as possible. We'll push forward like Joe Marti is in the picture above.....with dedication, motivation, desire, guts, grit, and a can do attitude.
I will continue to send out reminders to those of you who have followed through on your commitment. To those of you who want to help, now is the time! We need your help to reach the lost for Christ. That's why we do what we do. We cannot quit! We will not quit! It is our job to carry on and so we will! If you are with us, help us with either your financial contributions or by praying for this very important, visible, and viable entity in the running community.
Fight the fight with us!
Under HIS Grace...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Back on Track!

A few days ago I read a blog written by my friend, John Bingham. Many of you know him as the Penguin -- author, speaker, columnist. He has helped countless people on the way back to retrieving a healthy lifestyle. I admire him so much for what he has done for people from all over the world. His blog caught my attention and hit me right between the eyes!
John wrote of how it was difficult for him to train any longer --- his time demands are so significant that he declared that he just couldn't find the time to train like he should. He went on to write that he intended to start keeping a running log even though he has never done so before. In the past, running was simply such a part of his being that he felt that there was no reason for a log. Now, there is a reason --- to stay on track.
I called John to tell him how much I appreciated what he had written because I feel the same way right now. I am so busy that there are times when I just can't find the time to "get that run in." The demands of my family life, professional job, and the TEAM 413 ministry have become so enormous that it happened before I knew it! I used to just write it down on my daily planner and no one could schedule something with me during that time. It was a "meeting with myself" and my quiet time with God. Yet, I started letting people have that time for various reasons and now I have slipped into a rut of getting a training run in here and there. I train just enough to finish races.
During our conversation I thanked John for opening my eyes. I plan to keep a log too! I plan to put it back on my calendar as a part of my normal day. Then, I plan to find someone to keep me accountable for my actions.
I'd like to challenge you to do the same thing. If you have been slacking off, get back out there regularly. Find a good plan and stick with it. Start writing down everything -- how far you run, how long you run, how you felt during your run, how God showed you something along your journey. And, find someone to hold you accountable and that will allow you to hold them accountable. Doing all of this is as important as any meeting you might have during the course of your day because it's about your health. It's also a "selfLESS" act for your family and friends. Your health means a lot to them! So, hit the pavement and Git 'er Done!
Under HIS Grace...

Monday, May 3, 2010


This edition of GRACERUNNER JOURNAL is an excerpt from my book, GRACERUNNER - FAITH ON THE RUN. As you read, you'll soon find out much about me that you don't know. You'll also notice that my "celebration" run did not occur on the day that it usually does....instead, I celebrated by running the Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio on Sunday, May 2.

Race day in Cincinnati was not easy as it rained most of the day. It would have been easy to roll over and go back to sleep instead of running that race. However, that was never an option because of what God has done in my life. Read my story and you'll understand why I must continue on this path that God has laid out for me....There truly is a place called grace!


A Miracle of God’s Unimaginable Grace!

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

On April 30, 1986, I left my office to go out for a run. The day had been shortened for me as the athletic teams at Samford University had finished practices a bit early on that day. As the Head Athletic Trainer at the university, it was extremely rare for me to get a little free time at the end of a day. So, I was excited about going out for a long run and having some time alone for reflection.
Little did I know that, on this day, my life would be changed forever. My life as I knew it would never be the same again.
I ran an unusually fast pace that day. I ran a route that was somewhat new to me. I took a wrong turn and had to make my way down to a very busy highway just about the time of rush hour. I couldn’t get across the highway to run against the traffic so, I moved to a spot several yards off the shoulder of the road and ran alongside the traffic. I had a few hundred yards to go before I would reach the Samford University campus entrance and be able to walk back to my office for a cool down from a very good run.
Suddenly, I was involved in a very serious, unimaginable accident. While running along the very busy Lakeshore Drive in Birmingham, Alabama, I was suddenly struck from behind. I was propelled forward more than 30 feet. I thought that I had been hit by a car! I was face down on the shoulder of the road and I knew that I was hurt badly. I couldn't feel my legs and I had significant pain up and down my spine. I was alert and conscious during the entire event but still had no idea what had happened. It felt as if time stood still.
Several people stopped to help. I heard sirens in the distance and a flurry of activity ensued. One of the people who stopped to render aid was a nurse. I spoke to her and told her that I was a certified athletic trainer and understood what was going on medically. Therefore, I had many questions. “Do I look broken up? Am I bleeding? What hit me? Will you take my blood pressure to make sure that I don’t have any internal injuries?”
The answers were good and bad. She told me that I did not appear to be mangled and that I was not bleeding. She took my blood pressure and assured me that it was fine. Still, I couldn’t feel or move my legs. I could hear the sound of sirens getting closer and closer. The nurse stayed with me until the paramedics arrived. I never saw her face. I never spoke to her again. Nearly 24 years later, I still do not know the name of this wonderful person who stopped to comfort and help me after this devastating accident.
Police arrived on the scene and I finally found out that I had been struck by something that had flown off the back of a pick-up truck. I didn’t know what the object was, but I knew that it must have been something pretty significant!
As I lay face down on the ground, I overheard the policemen describing the object that had hit me in order to record it in their incident report. I heard them describe the object as a “5 feet wide by 9 feet long sheet of plywood.” For some reason I thought -- “They don’t make plywood in that size.” So, I asked the EMT to get the policeman over to me. I asked the officer about this 5’ X 9’ sheet of plywood and was told that it was painted green with white stripes.
I was puzzled by this until he told me the rest of the story. Bottom line -- IT WAS A PING PONG TABLE! This “table” was being hauled on the back of a pick-up while two men held it down from the cab of the truck. This very large piece of wood, that soon became a flying missile, was not tied down or restrained in any way whatsoever. I had been hit by a flying ping pong table! What are the odds of that?
God went to the extreme to get my attention during my afternoon run! He does that sometimes! Sometimes it's a soft whisper, sometimes it’s a loud roar, and sometimes it's a ping pong table!
After being immobilized on a spine board by a team of very capable emergency medical personnel, I was transported to a nearby hospital where I regained feeling in my legs a couple of hours later. I was kept in that hospital for pain and injury management for 17 days. A few days after my first hospital stay, I was back in the hospital for surgery and a stay that lasted until the end of June of that year.
My sacrum had been crushed. I had lost nerves. I had significant muscle and other soft tissue damage. I had tremendous swelling and eventually turned black and blue from the top of my shoulders to the bottom of my feet. This injury would affect me for the rest of my life. I was very fortunate to be alive.
Serious rehabilitation was ahead of me. I was told that I would be lucky to walk normally again and running was most likely out of the question forever. In my wildest dreams, I could not envision running again.
If I had been struck a foot lower, my legs would have been damaged significantly. If I had been struck six inches higher, I most likely would have been a paraplegic. If I had been hit in the neck region, I would have been a quadriplegic. If I had been hit on the head, I could have been killed. God spared me for a reason. I continue to uncover His reasons more than two decades later.
Each year on the anniversary of this event, I celebrate that I'm able to walk and run. I celebrate that God used a tragic moment in my life to get my attention. I celebrate that he did a miracle in my life and now I have been blessed to be a part of the running community through a ministry such as TEAM 413 that was planned and ordained by God Himself! I praise Him that I am able to be a part of something that is so much bigger than we could ever comprehend, envision, dream, or imagine.
On the day of celebration each year that marks the anniversary of this STRANGE event and injury, I go out for a run at the time that the injury occurred, about 5:30 PM. Each year, I ask others to join me on that day either in person or wherever they are at that moment. They run with me and they pray with me. It’s always a very special day to thank God for miracles of GRACE.
Each day of my life I pray that God will continue to get our attention and then use us in ways that we cannot comprehend. I also pray that He will be glorified through the ministry that we call TEAM 413. God has entrusted us with such an amazing outreach ministry. We consider this a miracle after the incomprehensible circumstances that occurred on that day in April 1986.

As we continue on our journey through life, we give thanks for God's grace… ~ And so I run ~ And so I care ~ And so I share ~ And so I praise His name for His goodness!


Under HIS Grace...