Digging Disciples – Defilement of the Heart

This week at Digging Disciples we talk about what defiles a heart, and how to keep yours pure.

Watch this episode of Digging Disciples here

 

Digging Disciples – Thanksgiving

Thankful for Thanksgiving week!  From time off work, cooking, eating, spending time with family, getting into the woods and praising Jesus – this is a great week!

The Thanksgiving edition of Digging Disciples covers the beheading of John the Baptist in Matthew 14.  The lessons we took away were:

  • Followers of Jesus are not immune to hard times.  Matter of fact we will have very tough times in this life.  Prepare for them and don’t be blown away when you are down.
  • When you are disappointed, discouraged or beat down – get alone with God.  Others will help, but only God will be there at all times with truth.

 

Podcast Guest

I had the awesome opportunity to be a guest of Stephen Shaner on his podcast – Are You Awesome Today?

Stephen is a friend and fellow Toastmaster who lives in middle Tennessee.  He has written a book call The Art of Being Awesome!  His book was one of the inspirations I had to complete my book!  You can find his book on Amazon, and it is a motivational short read.

He is also known as the Attitude “Chiropractor”.  I have found that he just has a way of navigating folks to a more positive attitude just by talking to him!

In episode 1 we spoke about the seasons of life.  Seasons is the last chapter of my book Blackberry Wisdom, and a great topic to discuss with friends.

Listen to his podcast here – Are You Awesome Today?

Current Situation Advice

I wanted to share a few thoughts on how to prepare for what I believe are some very uncertain times we are about to have in the USA.

The video is not designed to detail the troubles that are coming, but rather to calmly prepare for those who agree on the current situation.

In short, these details are:

Don’t worry over situations in which you have no control.

Understand the difference between comfort and NEED

Network with like-minded individuals in your community

Have enough food and water on hand that would last 30 days

Have extra fuel and heat sources

Do your best

God is in control.  Through these trials we should allow them to bring us closer to Him!

DTM Achieved!

On Monday, 11 Oct 21 I gave the last required speech to earn my DTM or Distinguished Toastmaster award!  I have now completed 2 Toastmasters pathways and what a journey it has been!

Less than 1% of all Toastmasters ever earn the DTM. Why?  Well because it is hard, it takes time and dedication, and it takes help from others along the way.

I shared in my speech the accomplishments I had in and outside Toastmasters, as well as the lessons I have learned.  I will share a few of the highlights below but the full speech is available in the YouTube video.

  • Leadership Development – 2019
  • Presentation Mastery – 2021
  • Pellissippi Toastmasters Club President 2019-20
  • Pellissippi Toastmasters Club President 2021-22
  • Area 23 director 2020-21
  • Youth Leadership Program for the Emerald Youth Foundation 2021
  • Club Mentor for G3 2021 

Toastmasters has a proven system for developing communication and leadership skills.

Pathways is the Toastmasters education system for developing communication skills, while club and district roles develop leadership skills.

DTM is the AWARD, but experiences along the journey is the REWARD !

My unique view of a procession

funeral procession in Knoxville
funeral procession in Knoxville (picture not mine)

Today I had a unique view of a funeral procession. The funeral procession of a hometown hero and the last soldier killed in the Afghanistan war – SSG Ryan Knauss.

funeral procession in Powell heading toward Halls

I stood on the side of the road and waited for the funeral procession like hundreds of others. I didn’t have a bird’s eye view or anything special like that. But I do have a background that affords me the view of this funeral procession like few others. I saw this funeral procession today as a veteran, father and a citizen.

As a veteran, it is hard to watch a funeral procession. In the back of a veteran’s mind there is always the thought – that could have been me at one time. Veterans serve our country with no guarantee that we will return in the same manner that we left. That is a forgone conclusion. And to see a fellow service person come back home in a hearse just doesn’t sit well with most. It is a deep understanding of the sacrifice that was offered.

As a father it is sobering to discuss with your family – my son in particular. Austin graduated high school with SSG Knauss. They were not that close of buddies, but his cousin and friend were close with Ryan. When we speak of Ryan I can tell that my son is pondering these conversations in his head. For a classmate to die is still fairly unique to these young adults. They still do not have the proper perspective to process it all. I also know that he is thinking of his cousin and friend who are really having a hard time processing this loss. Only thing I know to do is to talk honestly about these situations.

Lastly I watched this funeral procession through the eyes of a citizen of East Tennessee. I saw all walks of life stop their busy Thursday to stop and watch this funeral procession pass by. I saw hundreds of people put all their differences in this world aside to pay respect to a young man who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their freedom. All walks of life stood in silence, waiving flags or saluting as the motorcade slowly passed by. I saw my community stand together as Americans which made my heart swell with pride.

My view was not totally unique, but it was one of thankfulness, humbleness and pride. The emotions were hard to describe and hold back.

Today I was reminded of the blessings I have in my life and thankful for those who realize the ultimate sacrifice paid by so many others.

Book Released!

I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have released my book. This book has been in the works for several – repeat several years! I would start and stop writing over the years. A silver lining from COVID is that I had time to stay home and write. More importantly I was able to schedule time for me to write.

This book is a tribute to my grandmother Ellis Troutman, but also a desired help to young adults who need someone to speak wisdom into their lives.

I am delighted to share what I feel the Lord has given me, and look forward to where this book will take me!

If you want to order you can find on Amazon here.

my first copies of Blackberry Wisdom

Keep your mouth closed

No, this is not advice that you should consider in public settings; however, it is not a bad idea at times.

I am talking about pulling weeds in your flower beds. Last night I was out digging and pulling weeds from my front yard flower bed. I was going to town just pulling weeds like there was no tomorrow. Then all of a sudden a big clump of dirt landed right on my tongue.

When I am working at something hard I have a habit of opening my mouth as part of the strain. I don’t know why. I really don’t.

What I need to focus on while pulling weeds is just to keep it closed! Keep my mouth closed so I don’t wind up with dirt where it is not appreciated!

Do you have little tics or habits like that? Do they ever get you in trouble or wind up with things where they don’t belong?

So if you see me out working and I have my typical open mouth facial expression just do me a favor. Kindly remind me to keep my mouth closed.