On May 6th and 11th, I got the opportunity to speak at the Foulston – Siefkin Employment Law Seminar. My topic was “You’re Not Broken: How to Inspire a Happier, More Productive Workplace.” Among some other ideas, one thought I presented was how to inspire belief in your employees and co-workers. By simply believing in others, the workplace can be changed and positively influenced. I told a story about getting hired at Six Flags Over Texas when I was in high school. Instead of me describing it to you, take a look below to watch the clip for yourself:
On June 26th, we set out on another marathon trip to speak six different times in a two week period. The first part of the trip was spent in Tennessee speaking to three different churches and twice on the Lipsomb University Lectureship called, “Summer Celebration.” Summer Celebration was tons of fun as we got to see many familiar faces, and I got to hear some great singing groups. The picture you see is of my daughter, Hannah, helping me great people after one of our presentations. We were having fun making faces at each other, and she is always the star of the show.
After our Tennessee engagements were done, we hit the road for Kansas City were I got to speak at the Teenage Conference hosted by Children’s Mercy Hospital of Kansas City. There, I spoke to many teens (and their families) who all had experienced life-changing medical events within the past year. These teens were by far my favorite crowd to speak to as they were not only attentive, but could very easily identify with the challenges that I’ve faced. In fact, I joked several times about “preaching to the choir” as some of them had dealt with more difficult situations than I have. Their questions were so insightful, and I came away so blessed to have been able to share my story with them.
Next up for us, a quick trip to downtown Fort Worth to speak for the Social Security Administration on overcoming challenges and choosing happiness. Then, it’s on to Wichita, KS to preach at a chapel service at a camp for young adults who have muscular distrophy.
I love my job!
I just wanted to drop a quick line of “Thanks” to the surgical staff at Arlington Memorial Hospital in Arlington, TX. I spoke to them last week at their quarterly staff meeting about choosing to live a happy life. I actually got to speak to two different groups, one at 6:30AM and one at 1:30PM. I have to say that I was surprised to see the 6:30AM group so awake, alive, and attentive. Both groups were a blast, and I thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to tell you my story.
Here’s a comment from the Director of Surgical Staff:
He was absolutely fabulous! The staff was touched and inspired by his story and his message. -Lori D.
We just returned from a fantastic tour of several spots in Tennessee and Arkansas. The trip started on Wednesday, the 15th, at the Concord Road Church of Christ in Brentwood, TN where a cousin and her family attend. My dad and I presented “All He Needs For Heaven” and we enjoyed having worship led by my cousin’s son. I love being with family.
On Thursday, I spoke to the David Lipscomb Campus School with my “I’m Not Broken” presentation. I had a blast with the students there as they were extremely attentive and had lots of great (and sometimes hilarious) questions for me. There were over 700 students in attendance, and I’ve never seen such a respectful audience. Usually, I kind find a few people talking or playing with cell phones, etc…not in this group of kids! They were awesome! They allowed Jesus to shine through their wonderful attitudes.
On Friday, I got to speak at Friendship Christian School (FCS) in Lebanon, TN. At FCS that day, they held “Commanders in Action” day. (Their mascot is the commander.) For many years, now, the school has held a day when students with disabilities from all over the county can come and enjoy a festival. Each FCS student is paired with a student who has a disability, and they spend the day getting to know each other and playing games. I told the students how proud of them I was, and I believe they were truly accomplishing Jesus’s mission of showing love to everyone. They were a fantastic group, and I believe the beauty of Jesus could be seen in them and in their actions.
On Sunday, my dad and I again delivered our message to both the Otter Creek Church of Christ and the Hermitage Church of Christ. Both churches have plenty of family members to catch up with, and the praise and worship at both churches made it a fantastic day.
After a couple days of rest, we continued on to Bentonville, Arkansas. On Wednesday the 22nd, I spoke at the corporate offices of Wal-Mart. My assigned topic was disability awareness, and I got to tell them about my experiences in life and in the job force. I believe there many things that corporate America can learn to help make people who have disabilities feel wonderful. The executives at Wal-Mart told me that they learned a lot, and it also helped that I had them laughing through most of the presentation.
That night I got to speak at the Decatur Assembly of God Church in Decatur, Arkansas. They could not have been more receptive to the message, and they were one of the most welcoming crowds I’ve ever had the privilege of speaking before. This was my first sermon to deliver by myself, as my dad had already flown home. I had a blast!
While it was exhausting, and Hannah, Joni and I all wound up with colds, the trip was absolutely thrilling. God has opened so many doors, and we continue to be blown away at His generosity. I’ll leave you with a video shot at David Lipscomb campus school that tells a funny story of a time in junior high when a bully decided to pick a fight with me.
This past weekend, my dad and I hit the road on Saturday to travel first to West Monroe, LA. We spoke on Sunday morning to the White’s Ferry Rd Church of Christ. The worship service was amazing. What a joyous people! I could feel the joy from the moment we walked in, throughout the worship service (which I had the privilege to lead), and all the way until we left. I really enjoyed working with their praise team, and we heard from so many afterwards about how much they enjoyed our presentation.
On Sunday evening, we headed to Vicksburg, MS, to speak to the Bypass Church of Christ. This church has a very unique history as it is a merger between a predominantly white Church of Christ and a predominantly black Church of Christ. I truly admire them as they have learned to put diversity aside and worship God side-by-side. They are reaching the lost, and we had a great time presenting our story as they were a very enthusiastic audience.
After two presentations on Sunday, we drove to Jackson, MS, for a Monday morning keynote to kick off the annual Mississippi Head Start Association meeting. We got to present to over 200 difference-makers who work with and inspire children, ages 0-5, every day. They work with children with all different kinds of needs to prepare them for elementary school. I really admire their work, and felt it a privilege to “inspire those who inspire.” Even at 8:30AM, they were a GREAT crowd, and they clapped so loud while I was singing, “Standing Outside the Fire” that I thought the roof was going to lift right off the building.
The weekend was truly inspiring and motivational, but not just for those who heard us…my dad and I came away uplifted, and we have great admiration for all three groups and the work they are doing.
Now…it is time for a vacation. Joni, Hannah and I leave tomorrow for Disney World…a welcomed break!
This past Friday, I was given the opportunity to speak to WorkReady, Inc. WorkReady helps people with special needs find jobs that would not only be suitable for them, but where the company doing the hiring is also willing to make adaptations as needed. As I learned more about them, I became very impressed with them and their mission. I applaud there efforts and told them so on Friday.
A part of me felt like I was “preaching to the choir,” so to speak. These employees work day in and day out helping people to use what they have instead of wishing their situation to be different. That’s one of my points when I speak. We can all sit around and wait for our circumstances to get better, or we can choose to use what we have to live life to the fullest. No reason or circumstance can keep me from living a full and happy life…not even a lack of arms.
I appreciate WorkReady, Inc. and other companies who are helping people to live better lives.