I was doing some channel surfing and got hooked re-watching The Help. It’s impossible to turn away from such a compelling story of love, inner strength and courage. The turning point of the movie is the moment in church when Aibileen Clark realizes that she must agree to share her story- the life of being a maid to a white family in Jackson, Mississippi. She’d later succinctly explain that the reason why she chose to come forward was “God.”

In the movie, the preacher reads from Exodus Chapter 4, verse 1, saying, “God having asked Moses to free the Israelites, Moses answered, ‘Oh my Lord, I am not eloquent, I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’” Then the preacher explains:

“See, courage isn’t just about being brave.

Courage is daring to do what is right in spite of the weakness of our flesh.

And God tells us, commands us, compels us, to love, Amen?”

“To love, as exemplified by our Lord Jesus Christ…

To be prepared to put yourself in harms way for your fellow man.

And by your fellow man, I mean your brother, your sister, your neighbors, your friends, AND the enemy.

Because, if you can love your enemy, you already have the victory.”


So, thank you, author Kathryn Stockett, for growing and showing love with your book, The Help. Thank you to the actresses- Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sissy Spacek, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, and others, for making this story, and its message of having the courage to love, come to life on the big screen in a timeless manner. We’ll keep a Grow Love t-shirt ready for each of you!

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coaching the good

Recently I noticed a picture of a creative art project on Pinterest. (And I am determined to make it a reality in my home.) On repurposed pallet wood, someone painted the phrase, “BELIEVE THERE IS GOOD IN THE WORLD.” The clever part is the font colors and placement of letters, so that one’s eye is drawn to the call, “BE THE GOOD.

“Be the good.” Demonstrate the good. Model the good. As I think about this, youth sports come to mind. Most of us recognize that athletes benefit from the team experience, learning the value of hard work and team effort. As the adage goes, “together everyone achieves more.” Everyone has a role to play. By facing and overcoming individual challenges, each member of the team grows as part of the journey toward a common goal. Each player discovers what it means to contribute, to be part of something bigger than him or herself. They see that the better they work together, the better they become as a team. Together they experience success and learn how to deal with temporary setbacks and losses.

Clearly, none of this could happen without coaches. Coaches teach the game. Coaches train their athletes each practice to do it right – to practice as they play. Coaches instruct on the “X’s and O’s.” Coaches expect and encourage an athlete’s best performance (and not always in the most gentle voices). Coaches provide an environment of structure, accountability, and expectation of success- both on and off the field.

Quite often the families of the coaching staff wrap their arms collectively around the players and coaches. They share their love and support as an extended family.

Many of us have benefitted from this experience as an athlete and/or as a parent observing a child’s development and increased confidence. Regardless of life situation, every athlete has a need to mature in some way, an untapped desire to become a better version of himself, and the team helps him get there.

What so many of us can’t fathom, however, are the extraordinary challenges that some student athletes face on a day to day basis. Children whose life experiences are beyond our scope of reality. For them, this TEAM experience of family may be the only consistent GOOD in their lives.

  • Good in teammates who provide encouragement to rise to a challenge and who tutor if that challenge is in the classroom.
  • Good in teammates who make sure you get to practice on time.
  • Good in coaches who make sure you have the gear you need.
  • Good in coaches who ask specifics about classes and explain how a GPA works, that you need to start strong and stay strong.
  • Good in coaches who tell it straight about what’s OK and what’s not OK.
  • Good in coaches who tell young men that they have choices to make and that those choices define them, regardless of temptation and opportunities.
  • Good in coaches who give rides home to stranded players and by doing so, better understand home situations that may have otherwise gone undetected.
  • Good in coaches who monitor whether a player has a stable roof over his head and then don’t hesitate to open up their own homes.

Recently, a local high school football player was interviewed after a tough state semi-final loss. He talked about the team as his family. He shared, several times, that his teammates and coaches kept him out of trouble. This young man has been part of the GOOD for four years. I pray that he carries it forward as well as he carried the football all season. I pray that all his teammates embrace the opportunities ahead with the same intensity and realize that their success on the field is just the beginning.

So, thank you to all the coaches and their families for making a difference and for feeling that it is a privilege to do so. Thank you for being the GOOD. Thank you for giving your time, energy and hearts for the betterment of our kids. Thank you for growing love. Because of you, many who might not have thought so otherwise, really do believe there is good in the world.


Jesus said to his disciples: “What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?  And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”       –Matthew ‪18:12-14

Categories: Accountabilabuddies, friendship, Grow Love, Team Lift, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Friendship Cruise Control

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”Thomas Aquinas

My parents (who are in their late 70s) were 8 hours into their drive to the west coast to board a cruise ship to Mexico when they realized that they failed to pack their passports. My stepfather, who takes everything in stride, said they’d circle back home to get them and start the journey over.

Turns out, that wasn’t necessary. After a brief phone conversation on a different topic, close friends of theirs presented a solution that my parents hadn’t imagined possible. The friends said they’d retrieve the passports and meet them halfway.

Dennis and Margery didn’t just empathize with my parents’ situation or float an offer; they stated how they were going to help. So, they rearranged their plans and drove 8 hours that day for a round trip with the sole purpose of getting their friends back on track.

Thank you, Dennis and Margery, for growing love! 

Thank you, Mom, for telling me this story with such joy.

It seems that it is in these unexpected incidents of profound kindness, when we are so moved by experiencing first hand the strength and depth of friendship, that we catch a glimpse God’s love. A love on which we can rely, even when we don’t realize doing so is an option.

“Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.” -Thomas Aquinas

Categories: friendship, Grow Love, Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness, The Gift of Gratitude, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What flame do you fan?


In Norfolk, Virginia, handmade signs, such as “love conquers hate,” have been appearing along busy roads. Special thanks to the person making the effort to remind us of basic truths.

The next part of the story is how I was able to see this picture in the first place. A co-worker was telling another, “I saw another sign!” There was profound joy and excitement in Joni’s voice as she shared the details and showed the pictures she captured on her phone.

Like all of us, Joni has been saddened by violence in our country. Yet, instead of succumbing to the vortex of despair, Joni stopped for a moment in her day to snap this picture. She then continued to fan the flame of its hope through its image, and most importantly, its message.

Thank you Joni, for growing love!

Recently, our pastor reminded the congregation of Nehemiah 8:10. If our Lord finds joy, despite all that He sees, how can we not? It stayed with me that joy and strength are interconnected. We can become despondent, overwhelmed and vulnerable when we sense no joy. Yet, it surrounds us. So, let’s fan the flame of joy. Let’s share it with others- every day, any way. It’s simple- just like the handmade sign in the shape of a heart.

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10.

Categories: Grow Love, Uncategorized, Witnessing Love Growing a Bit | Leave a comment

Like Peanut Butter and Jelly?

Peanut butter and jelly – milk and cookies – pizza and beer; some things just go together. Whatever the combination, experienced together a few times, the expectation is that one doesn’t happen without the other.

Consider “Love of God” and “Love of neighbor.” Can we say we love God as we show disdain to our neighbor? Can we love our neighbor without showing the same to God?

Pope Francis not only answers those questions with a resounding “no”, but he also tells us it’s the law:

“What is the law of the People of God? It is the law of love, love for God and love for neighbour according to the new commandment that the Lord left to us (cf. Jn 13:34).”

“It is a love, however, that is not sterile sentimentality or something vague, but the acknowledgment of God as the one Lord of life and, at the same time, the acceptance of the other as my true brother, overcoming division, rivalry, misunderstanding, selfishness; these two things go together.”

“What is this people’s mission? It is to bring the hope and salvation of God to the world: to be a sign of the love of God who calls everyone to friendship with Him; to be the leaven that makes the dough rise, the salt that gives flavor and preserves from corruption, to be a light that enlightens.”

It’s peanut butter jelly time!

Categories: Grow Love, Our Pope Says it Best, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.