Friday, July 21, 2017

Reflections from the Home Team, July 21, 2017

“So often the difference between success and failure is belief, and so often someone who encouraged us instills that belief in us… Be an encourager!”

Greetings from Cedar Falls!

Hoping all is well with each of you as we fast forward into the rest of summer!  I wanted to share a few thoughts today, having not done so since last March.  I’ve been working with my team of doctors monitoring some symptoms following the removal of some polyps in January.  We’ve discussed some possible surgery, but have decided to put things on hold for the time being as the symptoms have improved and my labs are currently in an acceptable range. I’m good with that, as I’d like to avoid any further surgeries! I’ve had my share of needles poked in me over the past few years, at times feeling like I could turn this body into an irrigation system for the infield… and that brings me to this reflection. 

As I’ve sat in Iowa City for treatments and follow-ups since being diagnosed back in 2009, I’ve visited with many folks who have needed a word of encouragement along the way, myself included!  As I was doing some reading this past week, I came across a comment made by Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-Fil-A. He was asked, "How do you know if a man or woman needs encouragement?" His response, "If they are breathing…” How true that rings from my experiences!! We all need encouragement, and positive encouragement can inspire others to do more and become more than they ever thought possible.
Encouragers are people the world needs more of… With so many people telling us we can't succeed in our life’s challenges, we need to hear people telling us we can. This is especially true in the cancer journey!  Many times over the years I have had conversations with others who have helped make all the difference for me at times when I’ve felt down and discouraged, and I’m hopeful I may have shared a few words that did the same for others along the way.

I often run into those who may think it's their “role” to inject a dose of "reality" into someone else’s life, thinking it's their job to protect people from the pain of failure and defeat. Honestly, there are enough pessimists and realists in the world… it really doesn't need more negativity and impossible thinkers. The world needs more optimists, encouragers, and inspirers!
The world needs more people to speak into the hearts of others. Jon Gordon, one of my favorite authors, says it best for me as he shared the following in a recent post:

“We all love working for and with people who bring out the best in us. We love being around people who uplift us and make us feel great. And while we'll always remember the negative people who told us we couldn't accomplish something, we will always cherish and hold a special place in our heart for those who encouraged us.”

Given that thought, I’d ask each of you to consider being an encourager… So often the difference between success and failure is belief, and so often someone who encouraged us instills that belief in us… Be An Encourager! Be that person who decides to uplift someone who is feeling down or who may be struggling with a health challenge. Share encouragement because it matters and we all need it!

While at a meeting I recently attended, the committee chairperson asked us to gather in groups of three with people we had never met. She told us to each take one minute to tell the others about ourselves and share the story of one person we wanted God to bless.

One man in my group said he wanted God to bless his wife who was battling cancer while she cared for her invalid mother. Another praised God for healing his wife’s cancer but said he was concerned for his adult son who had drifted away from God.

If this had been a typical session, we would have left as we came in—as strangers. But because the group leader asked us to share something personal, we all made an immediate connection. I left the session wondering what other situations are out there needing some form of encouragement. Most people are struggling with something significant while also rejoicing about something else.

Everyone needs prayer and encouragement—either to celebrate God’s goodness or to seek God’s grace. It certainly isn’t wise for us to walk up to strangers and demand that they open up to us, but we certainly can be aware that each person most likely has some unexpressed yearnings. It is comforting to know we never have to handle things alone, and that if we choose, we each can each develop a “Home Team” of our own to help encourage us through those times when we or someone we love is struggling.

I also wanted to take a moment to share that my book, Reflections from the Home Team… Go the Distance has now been published. The book offers my experiences and reflections to others who may be facing difficult and challenging times. It is my hope that by reading the book, their minds and spirits may be filled with positive thoughts and energy, while offering a healthy dose of encouragement along the way. Baseball metaphors and analogies, competitive spirit, and a touch of humor provide common themes in the book. I pray that the book may offer hope, strength and ENCOURAGEMENT to those who may be facing a similar journey!

With the help of my son Rob and one of my former baseball players Jim Mudd Jr. and his team at Mudd advertising, we are developing a website for the book. The website will tentatively be going live on Sunday, August 6th. If you may be interested in picking up copy of the book, you may go to the website at the URL listed below at that time.

The website, will provide information about the book as well as details on how to purchase the book, including an option to receive a personalized, signed copy directly from me if you so choose. The website URL is currently linked to my blog and will be additionally linked to information regarding the book on the site once it goes live. The book will also be available for purchase on the shelves at:

Barnes and Noble
1518 Flamming Drive
Waterloo, Iowa 50702

Wiley’s Christian Book Store
2520 Waterloo Rd.
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613

Reflections from the Home Team… Go the Distance may also be ordered on line at the following links:

Many blessings to each of you as you become an encourager in someone else’s life!



Link to: Reflections from the Home Team… Go the Distance Book Website:

Link to: Reflections from the Home Team BLOG

Link to Vimeo: Reflections from the Home Team... Go the Distance “My Story”

Link to: Tommy Emmanuel and "Angelina"