Muscle Work Let's Make The Change

I read a devotion this morning that reminds me that Life takes Muscle Work and I want to be willing to make changes as life evolves.

Otherwise, I am just “a bystander”. And I don’t know about you, but I want to be “a participant” in this life, not just someone who is here and accounted for, but not really taking part, not connecting, not interacting, not having an impact.

I am learning that the best way to bring peace to my external circumstances is to begin with internal work. Internal peace will begin to settle external chaos.

Here is an excerpt from the devo I read:

“I’m convinced that life without risk isn’t much of a life. There’s a certain comfort in predictability. But it’s the kind of comfort you don’t find when you’re moving and growing. It’s the comfort you find in hibernation.
If you’ve followed sports or been around athletes, you know that an athlete regularly stretches his muscles to the point where they burn. Otherwise these muscles become inflexible, unresponsive, and easily fatigued. The same is true with your soul. It must be regularly stretched. Failure to do so gives you comfort in the short term, but ultimately leaves you emotionally and spiritually unfit.
Connecting, loving, and pursuing dreams, all require risk and energy! Yes, you’ll be stretched to the point of discomfort. Yes, you may experience some hurt and disappointment. But these are far better alternatives than the loneliness, boredom, and quiet desperation that accompany a life without risk.” ~Steve Arterburn, New Life Live~
While it is not always comfortable, I want to stretch ALL of my muscles from here on out! My physical muscles, my faith muscles, my brain muscles, my compassion for others muscles. ALL of these, and more.
In addition, I want to discover what in my life is no longer serving me well. Maybe it’s a bad habit I have been carrying around for decades. A routine that has become commonplace. A Rut. A pattern that is no longer useful. A temperament that is not as kind as I would like.
Here below are some specific things offered by A + A Wellness, a group  founded on the belief that everyone deserves how to live the healthy lifestyle. For more great tips, check out their website here.
This list can be applied to all kinds of muscle-building in our lives.
We CAN  begin to incorporate more muscle and discipline into our days.
A + A Wellness Information
What is it for you and for me that we would like to change and alter for the  days ahead? What is no longer serving us? Yes, it can be difficult, and risky, too. But, so, so worth it. It is truly a Fork In The Road, and we get to choose the way.
Let’s Start Today!

The 2016 Masters A Gentleman's Sport

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haha! Click here to read my Family Circus post.

First, let me say, congratulations to Danny Willett 2016 Masters Winner!

You have to have your game with every single par. You have to stay committed behind the bunker.” Jordan Spieth after the 2016 Masters

 The second English winner after Nick Faldo. What an exciting finishing we all got to enjoy! Danny Willett is the proud new Daddy of a brand new two-week old son, Zachariah James Willett, and I know so many in England are celebrating this momentous win!!!

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Brit, Danny Willet, plays for a win at the 2016 Masters.

Last year at this time, we were celebrating the 2015 Masters Winner, Jordan Spieth and I wrote this blog post about Jordan and his sister.

Jordan finished 3 strokes behind Willett. “I think the whole golfing world feels for Jordan Spieth,” Jack Nicklaus shared after the unexpected finish. “My heart goes out to him for what happened, but I know that Jordan is a young man who will certainly learn from this experience and there will be some good that comes out of this for him. He’s a wonderful talent and a wonderful young man,” Nicklaus said.

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Jordan Spieth, gives it his all losing by only 3 strokes.

Spieth spoke of what happened on No. 12, “Just compounded mistakes, just a lack of discipline to hit it over that bunker coming off of two bogeys, instead of recognizing that I’m still leading the Masters by a couple of shots. It’s very, very tough. It was a very tough 30 minutes that I hope does not happen again.

The object pf golf is to just to win. It is to play like a gentleman, and win. Phil Mickelson

I hope you had a chance to watch some or all of this amazing golf tournament held every spring in our home state of Georgia, U. S. A.

Share your thoughts in the comments below about the 2016 Masters Golf Tournament.

Make A Difference: Like Matt Did

11917482_10206049298289057_9045837042042716507_nIt is September first, and that means if you are Facebook friends with Cathy Mintz, you may have already read the following post from this new day:

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Matt with his Ma, brother, Quinn, and sis, Mary Cat.

“Please forgive me, but today starts the beginning of

what is to come, October 1, 2011-2015.

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Matt on one of his first days of school where his Ma stated he was determined to wear these “way too big” shoes!

 The weather is cooler, the leaves are falling, we are all loving the weather change, admiring the yellow mums blooming, we hear the Harrison band preparing for football, but to me since 2011, this time is only the beginning of a time when so many of us have to remember our Buddy, our son, grandson, brother, nephew, etc. 11951227_10206049309729343_1455352024602496_nHis shoes are now empty and he can no longer wear his favorite UNC hat, this has all been exchanged for wings, a white robe and barefooted. I know some people will ask, what is the big deal, it is only 4 years on Oct. 1. To me as his Ma, every year counts. All I ask, is that you don’t try to judge until you have walked in this Mother’s shoes and traveled down the road our family and soooo many of Matt’s friends have traveled. 11930964_10206049309769344_3892482128690387042_oWe have all learned so much, some are making a difference in others lives, some are chasin’ their dreams like Matt wanted them to, some are still trying to accept that their best friend is really gone from this world, etc. But together we are all doing well and we will keep keeping Matt’s name alive and kicking, just like he lived life.

Please hug your children every single chance you get,

you never know when it might be your last tight hug.

God bless us all as we enter into the next few weeks. 11222072_10206049311929398_5476076784588587602_nPlease feel free to use any on my photos for your cover page or anywhere. Lets show how much we love and miss him by changing our cover photo. Matt,Quinn and Mary Cat’s Ma
— with Matt Dyas.”

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Cathy, thanks for showing us all how we can still “CHOOSE to live with JOY” even amidst missing someone sooooo much!

From the first few days after hearing of Cathy’s University of West Georgia student, Matt’s passing, she has encouraged all who knew him to Make A Difference Like Matt Did. Together we can change the world in the memory of this fine young man who left us far too soon. Read about just one of the ways Matt’s Mom, Dad, brother, and sister, and countless friends are making a difference each year in Matt Dyas’ memory here: 18 Holes of Golf and 1,000 Sandwiches. I am personally grateful to this Scholarship Fund for making a donation for my upcoming mission trip to Rio de Janeiro October 30- November 8, 2015. These monies will be used to minister to young students in an impoverished part of Rio.

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Cathy and her long-time friend, Kim at the 2015 Matt Dyas Memorial Tournament.

How will you and I make a positive

difference today, like Matt did?

“Let’s Go On An Adventure!”

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Always there has been an adventure just around the corner-and the world is still full of corners. Roy Chapman Andrews

Whether you are taking a hike, walking your grandchild hand-in hand down a  driveway to collect the mail, visiting potential college campuses with your teen, a girls’ getaway, an afternoon of golf with your buds, moving out of the home you raised your babies in, or taking your family on a trip of a life-time, ADVENTURE is a good word for our daily vocabulary.

“Let’s go on an adventure!” can mean anything depending on the circumstances, but it can always depict “togetherness” and a reminder for us to appreciate the little things in life, to live fully in the moment, and to seek joy in each day.

Adventure is worthwhile in itself. Amelia Earhart

 In the past, adventure has been understood to mean an exciting or unusual experience or a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome, but why can’t we begin to use this nine letter word to enhance our personal relationships and bring anticipation to an otherwise mundane event. I believe that just being together with those you love the most can be a great adventure no matter what you are doing!

Woman breathing deep in spring or summer

I mentioned Helen Keller’s autobiography in my last post about the life of Ms. Oseola McCarty. (The Story of My Life) As challenging as Keller’s life was, she was always looking at her moments as adventures. Many of her quotes have inspired me through my life, but one of my favorites is here.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Helen Keller (1880-1968)

IMG_2872 IMG_2871When our children, Leah and Walker were ages four and one, as pictured here, we began to use the word “adventure” often.

One rainy adventurous day that both of our kids still talk about was when we walked for hours behind our home in torrential rain (no lightning or thunder) and Walker’s diaper got so heavy from jumping in puddles that his pants began falling down with every step. Leah and I were laughingly taking turns pulling his shorts back up for him before he would lose them again and laugh. Memories like this  last a lifetime.

So how do we take more notice of the adventures in our moments…in our days. One idea from my friend I’ve known since first grade, Jan, is when grocery shopping, look for a new, unique item you have never tried or bought before and buy it! This may be some kind of fruit or vegetable, a new snack, or frozen item. Let me know what you find! And another friend, also from first grade at Fernbank Elementary, in Decatur, Georgia, Mary, suggests that adventure to her means spontaneity. I agree that spontaneity adds adventure to life for sure!

And one last thought about adventure, so often as we journey through our days, things just don’t go the way we have planned. Why not rather than becoming angry or frustrated, tell yourself: “Well, this wasn’t what I had in mind, but we are off on another “adventure”. Our intentional, positive response to our difficult circumstances or changes in our “route” can make a world of difference.

How will you and I begin to change our thinking regarding the word “ADVENTURE”?

18 Holes of Golf & 1,000 Sandwiches: Just Do It!

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It has changed my life. I now have a new normal life. Never take a minute with your children for granted. I was texting and laughing with Matt one minute and 13 minutes later, he was gone. Cathy, Matt Dyas' Mom

This past Monday, June 8, 2015 was truly an extraordinary day. A day where over 110 golfers played 18 holes of golf in memory of a remarkable young man and more than a dozen women made 1,000 sandwiches for the low-income families in our community. This day was special in so many ways, including the truth that when a plan is laid out, a huge difference can be made in our sphere of influence in just a few short hours!

October 1, 2011 started out like any other day. A fall, football Saturday, certainly a favorite day for many folks. In Carrollton, Georgia on the beautiful campus of The University of West Georgia, students, faculty, and fans were busy with festivities surrounding Homecoming Saturday. In a matter of seconds, everything changed for the family of 20-year-old college student, Matt Dyas, when a car struck his motorcycle killing him instantly. Matt’s Mom, Cathy was hours away, when she received news of the accident, having just arrived at a destination for some time with girlfriends. Matt, a 2009 graduate from nearby Harrison High School  was known for many things , some of which are his exceptional golf score as a member of the West Georgia team, his role as a younger brother to Quinn and a big bro to Mary Cat,  son to David, a friend to countless, and a grandson, cousin, nephew to many.  Most of all, Matt Dyas was known for his strong faith and his giving spirit. “Just Do It” was his mantra. Matt was also known for his interest in mission trips, venturing to both Russia and Ukraine before his passing. I would never attempt to tell my friend, Cathy: “I know how you feel.” As I have learned more about the potential stages of grief, I have also realized that everyone grieves in their own personal way. In most cases, I do believe the “shock stage” comes first to protect us from the overwhelming truth of the tragedy that has occurred. The anesthetic shock can last a few hours, or even a few days. I am certain this was the case with Matt’s family when they heard the news just minutes after he had been in touch with them through texts and phone calls. (Since posting this in 2015, I have written three posts which might prove helpful for those who are grieving: 4 Ways To Best Help The Bereaved , A Grace Disguised, and How The Soul Grows Through Loss. 5/4/16)

Over 1,000 friends and family members gathered on Monday, October 7, 2011 in memory of Matt Dyas. Quinn, Mary Catherine and many other friends wore red t-shirts with large white letters stating Matt’s birthday and his mantra: Just Do It! IMG_3636 IMG_3637Matt’s mother, Cathy, called “Ma”  by Matt since he was a boy, bravely shared a poem called The Dash with the congregation. It was a beautiful day of celebration even amidst the devastating loss that comes with losing your son.

A few months after Matt’s unexpected passing, his family began to talk about something they could do in Matt’s memory. They soon decided on a golf tournament and determined the first one would be held right around Matt’s 21st birthday, June 2, 2012.  I am unsure as to what my response would be in these same circumstances. What I do know is how this family has chosen to respond to their grief is one I can only pray I would emulate in similar circumstances.

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L to R, Matt’s sis, Mary Catherine, his big brother, Quinn, and his Ma, Cathy on June 8, 2015 Brookstone Country Club at the Matt Dyas Golf Tournament
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Matt Dyas Golf Tournament Warm-up on June 8, 2015.

Soon after saying good-bye to her middle child, Cathy began to consistently put up positive, challenging posts on her Facebook page: “Make a difference like Matt did! What can you do to help someone out today?” or “What random act of kindness can you show someone today? Make a difference like Matt did!” Between the inspiring celebration of life service paired with these posts from Cathy, many lives have been changed for the better since Matt Dyas took his leave so unexpectedly in October 2011.

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Matt’s Aunt Heather (L) and Matt’s girlfriend, Haley handle the check-in table at the tournament.

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Matt’s Ma, Cathy makes a sandwich for a less fortunate child in our community.
People are made of stories, not atoms. Korean Proverb

I was honored to be a part of the fourth annual Matt Dyas Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament this past Monday, June 8, 2015. This Scholarship Fund in memory of Matt has raised thousands of dollars impacting more young people with each passing year. Seven Harrison High School seniors have earned scholarships in Matt’s name along with 2 University of West Georgia students. This fund has also sent five students on international mission trips. In addition, the Matt Dyas Memorial Scholarship Fund has helped Amateur Golfers, James White and Ollie Schniederjans, both graduates of Harrison High School , get their start with a golf career following their completion of a  degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. It is easy to see the positive, enormous ripple effect that has formed following the death of an amazing young man, Matthew Benjamin Dyas. This year’s tournament was the best yet as Cathy added the challenge of making 1,000 sandwiches for the Must Ministries Summer Lunch Program.

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Making sandwiches! Matt’s Grandmother (R , striped shirt) joined in on our project and ten-year old Ben (center) came along with his Mom, Jennifer, to help us while his big brother Josh played in the golf tournament.
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L to R, friends from the Charlotte, NC area join us for this special day, Lori and Sandra with Matt’s Ma, Cathy, and Jennifer standing in front of our 1,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! Thanks to Kim and her daughter, Mallori, who combined the peanut butter and jelly to make our job easier!
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Packing lunch boxes for the golfers. Chic fil A donated sandwiches!
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Rance, a young man who only met Matt Dyas one time at a UGa frat party shared at the closing of the golf tournament. This is part of what Rance told the crowd: “Though Matt and I only met once, it was like we had known each other forever, we had so much in common, and meeting Matt was unforgettable for me. I try to SHINE MY LIGHT every day like Matt did and I hope you all will do the same!”
The deeper the sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Khalil Gibran
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Cathy and me during tournament warm-up.

How will you and I make a difference in someone’s day like Matt did?

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