The Movie McFarland, USA - Finding Purpose in Helping Others Fulfill Their Dreams

My husband and I recently watched and enjoyed the Disney movie McFarland, USA with actor Kevin Costner. Yes—it’s one of those. You know, a feel-good movie where a coach comes in and saves the day by whipping a high school team into shape. They’re predictable and sometimes a little sappy. But there was something about this inspiring film that felt different.

McFarland, USA takes place in 1987 and is based on a true story. Liberties were taken with some facts, but the important key elements have remained the same. Jim White’s search for work led him to a position at a high school in Californias Central Valley with a predominately Hispanic population. His family slowly settled into the farming community where his students were expected to work the fields before and after school in order to help their families.

When Jim discovered that his students had exceptional fitness and stamina because of their rigorous schedule, he formed a track team, despite many challenges.

“Many of White's former runners credit him with inspiring them to achieve personal and career goals they would have otherwise deemed impossible. Over the years, cross-country provided a ticket out of poverty to runners with talent and focus who were willing endure grueling workouts in the 100-degree-plus summer heat—often after putting in a dozen hours working in the fields with their parents. Dozens of his runners have ended up going to college or into the armed forces, then returning to work as teachers at local schools or guards in one of the areas many prisons” (

I think this is an incredible example of what how one man found purpose in helping others fulfill their dreams …

What about you? Sometimes it just takes a little interest—someone who believes in a person—to provide the courage needed to take the necessary steps toward a goal. Is there anyone you could help by offering encouragement, financial help, mentoring, or vital information?

Are you willing to reach out and make a difference?


Meme – Inspirational Quote on Pursuing What God Put in Your Heart

I hope you enjoy this week’s meme. You’re welcome to share it with friends and on your social media sites: Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.

To save it to your computer, right click your mouse (if you’re using one) and “save as.”

When “Offense” Distracts Us from Fulfilling Our Purpose

It happened again…

I felt invisible.

It wasn’t just my imagination. My husband gave me a look that indicated he’d noticed. She’d been intentional about greeting the person next to me while totally ignoring I was right there. I’ll admit it—my feelings were a bit bruised. 

This wasn’t someone I could avoid, so I’d tried to be friendly on numerous occasions. When a situation came up that involved participating in several meetings in her home, I thought it would be a good opportunity to break the ice with her—she and I could get to know each other, at least a little bit. Nope. That didn’t work. Most of the time, I felt invisible to her there, too, and was passed over in discussions until someone else in the group made sure I was heard. Any conversation between the two of us was initiated by me and short-lived.

I wondered what would happen if I invited her to meet for coffee to find out if I had hurt or offended her. But, I shelved that idea. I was convinced that I would come off sounding like a whiny fifth grader. “What’s wrong with me? Why don’t you like me?”

It came to a point where I had to ask myself some questions.

Why was it so important that she like me?

We all want to be liked by our peers. But when it comes down to it, it’s impossible to connect with everyone. Personalities don’t always mesh, and that’s okay. I would have embraced her friendship if offered, but the reality was that I had awesome, fun, loving, amazing friends! I didn’t need her to like me.

Was it possible that at some point, I’d made someone else feel invisible?

Regardless of whether I had or hadn’t, I decided to be more aware going forward. I don’t want anyone to feel that I don’t even have a moment to greet them or offer a smile. I don’t want to rush past someone because there may be interesting people waiting on the other side of the room or someone with whom I have a higher comfort level.

Was I willing to pray for discernment and wisdom? Was I willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and trust that God knew her heart and mine, and that I could leave all in his hands?

Could I turn my hurt feelings over to God and offer grace, grace, grace without even mentioning being offended?

It was imperative that I let go of the offense.

It’s important to acknowledge, at least to myself, when someone hurts me. But when I allow those actions to affect me ongoing, they become a distraction to what I’m called to do—and that’s to be an encourager through written and spoken word.

Focusing on how someone has offended me distracts me from my purpose. It’s difficult to encourage other people while concentrating on my own negative experiences.

You may experience similar, yet different situations. Friends or family members may say discouraging things about your plans, your dreams, or what you feel is your calling. You may be told that what you want to do is insignificant—not important. Their words may contribute to you feeling insecure or embarrassed about what you’re doing now or what you want to pursue. People may laugh at you, say you’re not capable, or even state that what you propose is not doable.

But remember, if God has placed those dreams in your heart, if he’s shown you his plan and purpose for your life, you’re not alone. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV).

So, what do you think? Are you going to let other people’s inabilities to see the possible distract you from fulfilling your purpose?

How do you handle situations when someone hurts or offends you?


Meme – Inspirational Quote on Pursuing Your Dreams

I hope you enjoy this week’s meme. You’re welcome to share it with friends and on your social media sites: Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.

To save it to your computer, right click your mouse (if you’re using one) and “save as.”

Finding Purpose in the Midst of Heartbreak

Do you believe that good can come out of bad situations? That purpose can be found in the midst of heartbreak?

I dont think God delights in our suffering. I believe he hurts right along with us. But I also believe that if we allow him to, he will show us how we can find purpose despite—and in the midst—of painful situations. And in discovering that purpose, maybe we also embrace healing a little easier.

This past year, three such people have made an impact on my life …

Magnolia Mae Goetze

This past weekend, a little girl’s life was celebrated by over a thousand people attending her memorial service in person, and a great number via online streaming. Why was it so important that they be a part of honoring her and saying good-bye?

Maggie’s father, Jake, is a pastor at Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, WA. My youngest daughter and her husband are good friends of the family, so I cried along with them as they walked this journey with the family and friends.

In September 2014, three-year-old Maggie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and given 9 to 12 months to live. After nine months, she quietly left this world to join her heavenly Father. After the diagnosis, her dad set up a Facebook page, asking people to pray for Maggie’s healing. What happened was remarkable. Thousands of people from all over the country and world became aware of Maggie’s story and began to pray and post notes on the Facebook page. As the family made memories with Maggie, they shared photos and updates.

People fell in love with this sweet girl and her family. Her parents’ trust in God became a testimony of faith and a source of encouragement for others. While she could still speak, Magnolia talked about cuddling with Jesus when she got to heaven.

“A little child will lead them” (Isaiah 11:6 NIV). Stories have been relayed of people being restored in faith and their relationship with God. Young Maggie gave meaning to life and more hope to people in her three short years than many people have in eighty-three.

Jesse Rees

I recently saw a TV segment about the Jesse Rees Foundation. I was blown away by this unselfish young girl. Twelve-year-old Jesse fought two brain tumors over the course of ten months before that battle ended on January 5, 2012, when she moved from her earthly home to the one waiting for her in heaven.

Jessie learned that many children who have cancer are unable to leave the hospital, and she wanted to make their stay a little easier. So, she started filling paper bags with her own toys to give to those children. That kind gesture grew into JoyJars with the message to “Never Give Up” (NEGU). Jessie personally sent over 3,000 JoyJars to kids. Her parents carry on with purpose and are active participants in the Jesse Rees foundation. As of today, over 80,000 JoyJars have been filled and sent to children in hospitals in over twenty-seven countries.

Chris Norton

As a freelance editor, I sometimes have the privilege of coming across extraordinary stories. I recently worked on a book called The Power of Faith When Tragedy Strikes by Chris Norton, his father Terry Norton, and ghost writer Christy Hayes.

This inspiring story started on October 16, 2010, in Decorah, Iowa, when Chris was severely injured during a college football game while making a tackle on a kickoff. Chris was told because of his spinal cord injury, he had a 3 percent chance of ever regaining movement below the neck, but he refused to accept that prognosis.

Through therapy, hard work, and determination, Chris recently walked across the stage to accept his college diploma. He attributes his success to faith, family, and friends. Chris had tremendous faith and support from those around him.

But as he was fighting his own way back, he realized that many others who had similar injuries didn’t have the same advantages he did—great equipment, support, and insurance that covered much of the costs. So he and his family launched the SCI CAN Foundation. The mission: “To promote the long term health, wellness, recovery, and quality of life for individuals with spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders by providing additional funds to facilitate opportunities that would not otherwise exist.”

Chris found purpose in creating the foundation, and he’s asked to give motivational speeches across the country. The media caught on to his story, and he’s been interviewed on nationally televised shows like Good Morning America and the Today show where he’s had the opportunity to share what God has done in his life.

Have you read or heard similar stories that have inspired you? 
How have you used tragedy or painful experiences to help others?



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