What Do You Have to Give?

I have been a football coaches wife for years. It’s a unique and awesome experience and my new book (still working on) is about one year in particular but is also about the incredible and sometimes heartbreaking times that we all have to endure for that one moment when it all comes together.
 
This season and last I decided to experience it all in a new way. For years, I have sat in wind, rain, snow, and heat. I have stood along the fence to allow my kids time to stretch their legs. Many years I spent in the stands cheering and crying alongside the other parents. Several times, I sat in a dark van along the parking lot with a sick child to try to catch glimpses of the struggle on the field. There are moments when I wanted to scream for joy and others when I felt anger well to the point of a near explosion. Whether it was a poor referee call or a comment from someone in the stands or maybe a rowdy group across the field, I was always a Tiger…or a Cyclone…and the last 15 years a tried and true Bearcat.
 
The past two years I elected to give the parents a break and time to enjoy their own young men and took my camera to the sidelines. I have enjoyed the fresh perspective and everyone was amazingly respectful. Most who know me well know that I took a rather hard hit last year and had a bruise that covered the inside of my thigh for weeks (I still have some pain from it). Last night, I watched our team fight and struggle…and eventually lose to end their season. We had an amazing year like we knew we would. The guys gave all that they had…
 
I remember a few years ago one team that was similar and very dedicated. When their season ended, several seniors placed their cleats on the Bearcat in center field and left them there to symbolize that they gave all that they had and left it all on the field. This stuck with me last night as I watched these young men fight. As I walked over to hear the speech after the game, I lifted my camera and shot pictures of the young men kneeling before their coach. I do this every time but this night was different. I clicked as many as I thought I needed and turned to walk toward my camera bag to pack up and leave. That’s when it happened…
 
There isn’t much that a 51-year-old woman can give a team to help them on their journey through the season. I gave up my husband to the hours of film and coaching, but I found that I had given something else that I had no idea would happen. I pulled my camera up one last time to try to capture the field but it wouldn’t turn on. The battery had failed…but the camera was dead too. This camera has clicked thousands of pictures through the years and I’m honored that it plowed through this season so well. Smiling, I packed it away and felt another layer of sadness and I thought about those cleats mid-field so many years ago. Part of me wanted to leave my camera there last night…I gave what I could…my husband…my time…and now my camera.
 
The 2017 Bearcat Football season has ended…but now we will see what these young men will accomplish in life. To them I say…give LIFE all that you have.

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What do Kim Kardashian and Warren Buffet have in common?

1 Peter 1:24-25

For, all people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this was the word that was preached to you.

What do Kim and Warren have in common? Well…not much except for money…

If you’re a movie buff, you have probably heard or seen the movie Hacksaw Ridge which portrays the amazing story of Desmond Doss, who saved 75 men without carrying a weapon or firing a gun during WWII. This story is truly amazing and I’m sincerely glad that it was brought to the theater for us all to experience and understand what this man accomplished. There are so many people who are never really exposed as heroes and in my series The People Of The Ville, I’ve tried to highlight a few. More on that later.

This verse from 1 Peter above reminds me of how short our time is here in this world. So many people today are in the news: athletes, movie stars, musicians, politicians…all with a sense of self-importance and maybe they even think that they will be remembered forever…but they will not. Can you name a single musician from 100 years ago? Some of you might be able to do so but the point is that we are “like grass” and our “glory is like the flowers of the field.” No matter how much we might adore someone today, they will be forgotten in a short time and replaced by other names. I find it amusing and somewhat sad at how many people spend their lives amassing fortunes or trying to leave a lasting impression of some kind. I think it’s ironic that a small girl during the Holocaust has become a hero of sorts with a name that most people are familiar with and she had no idea that her diary would become the focus of so many books and movies. I’m sure Anne Frank was only dreaming of a day when she could be free to be a normal teenager instead of fearing for her life every day.

Keep your eyes fixed on the word of the Lord which this verse says will “endure forever”. There are only so many days here for each of us…make them count in a way that brings glory to Him and not to yourself. Our glory will fade…no matter how important we might think we are.

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Are You Afraid?

Psalm 56:3
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

As a child, I was afraid of going into my basement. I remember running down and up to get something and singing at the top of my lungs, thinking that would help. When I was older, I was staying with an aunt when I had a horrible experience.

In Physical Therapy school, you do rotations that are similar to a residency but shorter. One of mine was in Birmingham, Alabama, where my mom’s twin sister lived. She had a wonderful room in her basement that opened out into a large family room, complete with workout equipment and a large TV. When she invited me to stay there, I was thrilled.

One weekend, my aunt and uncle went out of town and I was left in the house alone. I came home on Friday after my shift at the rehab center and decided to enjoy a quiet evening studying some of the articles given to me to read. After making my dinner and working out, I took a shower and bundled up in the bed with my articles, thankful that I could sleep in the next day.

Propping up on my pillows, I was about halfway through my second article when I heard a loud noise above me. It was distinct and purposeful like someone had knocked over something in the dark. Immediately, my heart began to race and I tried to remain calm. This was years before people carried any kind of cell phone and the nearest phone that I could use was outside my bedroom in the middle of the family room.

After a long pause, I sighed, remembering my aunts’ cat and almost laughed at my own fear until I realized she was laying at my feet. This meant that there was no way she could have caused the noise. Even though I knew this, I still felt like there had to be a logical explanation and hopefully, I’d just left something on the edge of a counter and it had just slipped off the edge. After my mind sped through those options, I began to relax and leaned back again on the pillows. Within a few more seconds, another sound triggered my heart rate again—it was footsteps. Someone was in the house and there was no doubt about it this time. The footsteps continued and I could hear this person clearly moving above me.

Fear gripped my heart and all I could think to do was pray. I clasped my hands together and prayed a simple prayer:

“God, please protect me.”

Almost immediately, I felt calm and even though seconds before I could barely breathe, suddenly I was clear-headed and I knew what I needed to do. Slowly, I slipped out of my bed and flattened my body to the floor, moving toward the phone to call for help.

As I reached the phone, instead of calling 911, for some reason I called my mother. Whispering to her over the phone, I told her what was happening and she was so upset; but she told me to do something strange. I still don’t know why I called her first; but she made me hang up to call 911 but also do the other thing that seemed crazy. After I punched the numbers into the phone, I did what my mom told me to do: I shouted,

“I hear you! I’m calling the police!”

As soon as I the operator came on the phone, I could hear the person above me run toward the front door and exit the house. Within seconds, I relayed to the police operator what was happening and they sent help right away. After all the investigations, they determined that I had arrived home and startled a burglar, who in turn hid in a closet until he thought I was asleep. He was trying to sneak out when he heard me yell and he panicked and ran away. 

This event scared me so much that I had difficulty staying alone for some time; but I eventually conquered that fear. During that night, I remember just praying and crying out to God to keep me safe. The police told me that I was incredibly lucky and that I could have been murdered that night or in the very least, assaulted. For some reason, that man didn’t do either and for that I am thankful.

I believe with all my heart that God heard my prayer that night and He protected me. Why did I call my mom first? Why did she tell me to do that? She didn’t remember even telling me that the next day. It was so strange. All of it. And no one could explain any of it.

I sincerely, hope that you are never in a situation like that; but we are all scare of something at different times in our lives. Not just sudden gripping fear like I had that night; but fear that is gnawing at us and controlling our emotions in a way that God never intended. He tells us repeatedly (hundreds of times actually) not to fear and to trust in Him. This verse, though, says that “when I fear” so I think He fully expects us to have some fear at different times. When we do, He wants us to “put our trust in Him”. I can tell you that I had no other choice that night. I had to trust that He would keep me safe. I did all that I could but I was helpless and trapped. He rescued me and reminded me that He was and always is in control.

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Is God listening?

Prayer seems so simple. We are told to just ask and God will hear us; but do you feel like you’ve been ignored?

Some time ago I went through a difficult time with my health. There seemed to be no answer medically and my symptoms only worsened over time. My weight was dropping and I was scary thin. I remember preparing myself for death and thinking through all that I needed to do in order to get my family settled. I started cleaning out cluttered areas and even gave away some of my clothes, trying to make it easier for my family if I passed away. The most difficult part was thinking about my precious daughters and my amazing husband. I was so grief-stricken for them, not just for myself; but then one day…I fell apart.

I tried to understand why God would let this happen to me and why would he give me such a great family and then strip me away from it all, leaving my children without a mother and my husband without a wife. It was then that I found myself helpless and alone and afraid…for the first time in my life.

Weeks of testing and thousands of dollars out of our own pocket were squeezed, leaving our family budget a mess as the doctors tried everything. For a while, I think that they might have even thought that I was having some type of psychological illness. Depression enveloped me but I choose to swallow it deep inside and never let anyone see how bad it really was. As my clothes hung from my body, I was annoyed when people said things like: “You look great!” I was under 100 pounds when one woman said this to me and I seriously thought about punching her in the mouth.

As I laid in bed each night, exhausted from not being able to eat anything, I would wait until my husband and children were asleep and I would either sneak down to the basement alone or lay in the darkness as quietly as possible and pray. I cannot express to you how lonely I felt. There was a deep and terrible pain that engulfed me and I couldn’t share it with my best friend (my husband) because he was grieving too and trying to hide his fear as well. We never said it but we both knew I was dying.

Heaven seemed silent, although I felt some comfort when I prayed. Why couldn’t I get better? Why had my body seemingly rejected food? The tests were all either inconclusive or negative, so in a way, I was glad they didn’t find cancer or something incurable; but not knowing and your body shutting down are just as bad at that point because there is no answer.

Without going into all the history, I was basically unable to eat anything without getting very sick or having terrible pain or both. Even water was difficult at times when my body would be at its worst levels of pain. The only thing I could do was sip on sweet tea to try to get some sugar in my body to stay alive. Occasionally, I would try to eat again and the pain would be back. Most of the time, I choose hunger over pain.

After multiple GI tests and a CT scan, they determined that maybe I should see my OBGYN since my mother had died of ovarian cancer. I’ll never forget when they found the mass that had been missed on the CT scan. There was a sudden change in the demeanor of the nurse and she quickly went to get a doctor. Within minutes, they were scheduling surgery and three days later I had a total hysterectomy and oophorectomy, where they found additional tumors on the other ovary as well that had also been missed on all other tests. Fortunately, all were benign.

My ordeal didn’t end there, but the pain levels were better and I could eat some again. Someday I may go into more detail; but let’s say that after that day, I still had another year of torment until my husband saw a pattern with my pain and my eating that led me to get off corn and wheat as much as possible and I can now say that I am about 99% symptom free today.

During those dark nights praying alone, I found something that I had never experienced before. At first, I was dedicated to prayer daily and then I became frustrated when nothing seemed to be helping. I would venture to say that I was actually mad at God for putting me in this situation and I didn’t know how to fix it. I don’t know when I downloaded this app, but it was definitely years before my ordeal. The Bible app gives me a verse of the day and one day it popped up on my phone. I missed it, so I tried to find it again and somehow ended on this verse instead:

Isaiah 55:9
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Staring at my phone, I could almost hear God saying for me to relax and that He had this. Trust Him. It will all be okay.

Part of me scoffed at the thought of relaxing but from that time forward I changed my prayers from “Please heal me” to “Please just help us find a way to get through this” and almost instantly I began to feel Him more every time I prayed. Something changed in my heart every day as I increased my prayers and stopped asking for Him to heal me. Incredibly, it was the very next day that my husband realized the pattern with my symptoms—something no one else had seen before even after creating a food diary for weeks.

Even though my body was never healed, I was able to find a path to eat again and now I’m healthy and happy and feel great. Without a doubt, I will always believe that He put the idea in my husband’s head about the relation of my diet and my illness.

This is the second time that God has taught me this lesson in such a drastic way and I’m sure He is amazed that it took so much to get my attention again. God knows me better than anyone and knew I would be okay; but even if I hadn’t, His ways are still better than mine. Whatever His path is for my life, I choose His.

The story is not over, though. Through all of my tests and problems, I learned an incredible amount of information that has helped me explain and understand much of what is happening with the children that I work with in my job as a pediatric PT. Any child with GI issues has my immediate sympathy and I’ve been able to help their families understand more about the issues as well as recognize them in advance. Even though my ordeal was less than pleasant; it has become such a blessing in my work to be able to help others with their journey.

I sincerely hope that you all are healthy, well, and happy; but remember that this is not what we are promised. Pain and trials are coming to us all and we can find our best hope on our knees.

 

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Hurricane in Life

The Hurricanes in Life

  1. Isaiah 41:10

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

The hurricane coverage is dominating the news right now. The stories of loss and devastation are difficult to watch; but there are other stories of survival and the camaraderie of the human spirit. Every time a natural disaster hits some part of the world, it makes me realize once again how much we depend on God for safety and security.

This verse is one that I love. There are many others with the same theme, like

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.

I lived in Florida during Hurricane Camille years ago. I remember having to leave and not knowing if we’d have a home to return to. Fortunately, we were spared; but many others were not. Even though I’ve not experienced a hurricane while it raged around me, I’m sure many of you, like me, have been hit with a “hurricane” of life. Recently, I was hit with a few category 1’s and 2’s but I’ve been hit with a 5 before with the loss of my mom a few weeks before my wedding. There have been other “storms” in my life that were not as severe but all left some type of mark on my life.

Through these times of devastating “winds” and “rain”, I had to learn not to let the “storm surge” overcome me. The only way that I could do that was to lean on Him. It was during those times that I discovered what it was like to let God “strengthen me” and “help me”.

I pray that you will find His peace and strength during your times of trouble.

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Selling Your House…Buying Your Dream

The People of The Ville:

Melissa Seelow

Interest rates have risen but homes are selling faster than ever. To get your next home, you need to move fast and with confidence.

One local realtor is helping people do just that and has risen to become a multimillion dollar producer this past year. Her name is Melissa Seelow of Semonin Realty and she is this month’s featured pick for The People of The Ville series.

Melissa was born in Richmond, Missouri, which is located right outside of Kansas City. She has lived in several states, including Colorado, South Dakota, and of course Missouri but now resides with her husband in Louisville. About 15 years ago, her husband was offered a job here but she states, “Now that our children and more importantly our grandchildren are here, we plan to stay!”

She and her husband have two grown children. Her son, Tyler, is Vice President of Investments for Chase Bank and her daughter Malarie is in the final stages of completing her nursing degree and works at Baptist Eastpoint. Tyler is married to Lindsay, whom Melissa describes as a wonderful stay at home mom; and they have two children, Peyton and Barrett. With all of their family here in town, Louisville has become their home. When asked what she liked most about Louisville, Melissa quickly answered,

“I have loved the traditions here. Even though we aren’t technically in the south, I feel like I live in the south with Derby and all of the fun surrounding it!”

Louisville is definitely a mixture of north and south—a blend so unique and noticeable that many dub it “Kentuckiana” or as one native once said “Indiucky”. Either way, the mix is wonderful and leads to a lot of local cultural flare, much of which translates into the food and restaurants. Melissa describes herself as a bit of a “foodie” since being here and quickly adds “it’s not good for my waistline!”

Other things she noted that she loves about our city:

“We enjoy the college sports opportunities here. There are great country music concerts and there is the ability to attend Broadway plays as well as see local talent. I also love the beauty of Louisville and the green hills. Louisville is a growing city which is exciting to be a part of!”

When asked who was the most influential person in her life and why, Melissa responded with the following:

“I would have to say that my Grammie was. Although I grew up states away and only got to visit for holidays and in the summer she always made sure that I knew she was there for advice no matter what. She sent me weekly letters if not more and called it her Grammie Landers letters. She had a great sense of humor and always appeared happy with her life although it was simple (she ran the rural general store and beauty shop where I loved to hang out). You learn a lot about people in that environment! She taught me to be forthright and honest. She said, and I quote, ‘if you ride the fence too long, you’re bound to have a sore crotch’. I guess she would laugh now at our society’s attempt to be endlessly politically correct. She always made the most with what she had and created a fun and loving environment for me. In college I lived closer and went often on weekends to see her and my PaPa— she told me it made her feel younger! Simple life lessons were learned through watching and listening to my grandparents.”

I have known Melissa for several years through work. About two years ago, she left to become
self-employed in the real estate business. This took some time for her to adjust after having dedicated her life to social work up to this point. After praying hard and feeling led to do so, she started this adventure and says, “It has been a great fit and God has blessed me more than I could have imagined!”

Blessed and talented at her job, for she was nominated as one of the Rookies of the Year in her first six months and, as mentioned earlier, is now a multimillion dollar producer.

“I love being able to help people work through the process of buying and or selling their homes. Searching for the perfect match and then working through all of the crazy stuff that can go on in the process of making an offer, home inspections and repairs, appraisals, banking and finally closing. I tend to wear many hats and my psychology background has come in handy more than once as it’s an emotional roller coaster sometimes. It’s always fun to see my buyers happy in their new homes!”

Her love of this business shows and her happy personality resonates with the customers. It’s no wonder she has found success. When asked if there was something that she would change in her life, here is what she said,

“I think it would be to slow down and enjoy the little things—quit feeling rushed through life. I think that’s why I love hanging out with my granddaughter Peyton who is three! Everything is new, fun, and amazing. If I am stressed, I will often go see her. I think we can be in such a hurry that we can go through life trying to move on to the next thing, a new job, home, the next phase with our kids etc.; and before we know it, we wish we could have a mulligan! Maybe that’s why grand parenting is so awesome—I enjoy those moments and watching all the firsts that are so exciting for them!”

One final question I asked was for her to tell us something about herself we haven’t already discussed.

“I’m an introvert! Really I am. When my husband was getting his Doctorate we had to take tests on our personalities and we were both amazed to learn that I am classified an introvert. If you met me you would think ‘no way’! I’m usually pretty chatty and outgoing! I think I’m analytical and sometimes I just need time away from others to process; but I love being with people and building friendships.”

Introvert or not, I find Melissa easy to talk to and personable in every way. She has proven her success in her family, her faith, and her career as well as developed a deep commitment to them all. We are happy to have added her and her family to The People of The Ville!

 

If you are in the market to buy or sell, you can reach Melissa using the information below.

Office Information
Semonin Realtors
600 N Hurstbourne Pkwy Suite 200
Louisville, KY 40222
Office: (502) 420-5000
Cell: (502) 649-7902

Website:
www.melissaseelow.semonin.com

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Tough Parenting

 

Parenting is difficult. Period. It’s a wonderful journey wrought with emotional toil as well as unimaginable joy. The old saying ‘Long days, short years’ is really true; but even still, those long days can seem very long.

One day, I was lamenting how difficult the day had been and I was huffing around the house picking up shoes and backpacks and mumbling to myself something like this,

“How many times have I told them…just take this stuff to your room as you go?”

I had lost any joy at that moment and I found myself growing more and more frustrated as I moved from room to room. Somewhere in my frustration, I found myself mumbling again…

“Why can’t they learn? Why do I have to tell them over and over every day to do the same things? Don’t they know I know what’s best for them? It would be so much better if they just listened!”

As I mumbled and moved from room to room, something suddenly occurred to me. It hit me like a freight train or ‘a ton of bricks’ as some say. I’m pretty sure that God must be saying the same thing about me…a lot. Why do I make the same mistakes over and over again? How many times do I leave my life cluttered and unkempt in a spiritual sense? How many times do I not listen to the Holy Spirit calling me to do something? Why don’t I listen to Him? Don’t I know that he knows what’s best for me? It would be so much better if I just listened!

I’m fairly certain that I don’t want to know how many times I’ve failed or fallen short. The list would be longer than I’d want to ever admit.

Thank you, Jesus, that you are always willing to be patient with me and allow me another chance. Thank you that you’re always willing to clean up my clutter without complaint.

Amen

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Peolple of The Ville: Monica Hardin

Introducing: The People of The Ville

Louisville, Kentucky is an amazing town with even more amazing people. In this series, I hope to shed some light on the interesting and awesome personalities that make up our great city.

Enjoy the story of Monica Hardin, a local news anchor on WLKY.

 

You might only know her as the pretty face on television. Her grace and beauty along with that infectious smile permeate the early hours every day on the WLKY morning news show. People who know her best agree that she’s as genuine and beautiful inside as she is on the outside. She has spent most of her years building on the purpose she discovered for her own life at a young age; and although Monica has had many successes and accomplishments in her life, she will only point to those that have helped her along the way and give credit to the pillars in her life that have not only supported her but also given her the strength and tools to follow her dreams. From humble beginnings to celebrity-like status, she has maintained the same sweet personality that her daddy warned her long ago to never lose. Monica has dedicated her life to motivating others; but her own motivation comes from three distinct sources: her family, her faith, and various mentors through the different seasons of her life. She has had her own radio program, been Miss Kentucky, and now anchors a local news show and I feel blessed that I’m lucky enough to call her my friend.

In 1969, Monica’s parents met on a blind date, which is ironic because her mother, Mona, had been completely blind since the age of six. Her parents soon fell in love and married and started their family with their first two children; and then they waited a full eleven years to have Monica followed by her younger bother three years later. Although Monica and her younger brother were always close, she admits that growing up, the 11 and 13 year age difference between her and her older siblings made it difficult to be as close; but there was always a dedication and devotion to each other that was instilled from her parents upon her and her siblings. These qualities are quite impressive enough in today’s world; but there is much more to her story.

The family settled in Valley Station, where her father, after hearing a sermon on the plight of young black men, decided to start a commercial cleaning business to give opportunities to those willing to work. Monica remembers feeling like it was natural to work alongside her father in his business. The family struggled and worked together to make financial ends meet but Monica remembers it as “a good childhood.” She goes on to say,

“We were poor and I knew we were poor; but I recently realized that I grew up privileged because I had access to opportunity.”

Even though her mother’s complete blindness made her family different and was a challenge, there was an incredibly strong bond between her and Monica that was truly inspiring. Monica describes Mona as more than just the matriarch of the family—she was the backbone to much of who Monica is today. Mona never leaned on her disability for an excuse and typically did whatever she wanted to with her kids, including cooking and crafts. Until her eldest son was born, she worked full time in the x-ray department at St. Margaret Mary’s. After that, she stayed home with her family and worked alongside her children in all of their endeavors, no matter what activity they wanted to pursue. She forged an attitude of you can do what you want no matter what obstacle is in your path and she lived by that attitude every day. Monica describes her mother as being an amazing homemaker that made everything from scratch and who was strong and carried herself with grace and beauty. Through the years, Monica became the eyes for her mom as they cooked and played together; and this last year when her mom passed away was one of the most difficult times for her. Monica recalls,

“I realized that for the first time in my life, I no longer had that job anymore.”

Watching Monica move, her grace and composure is as intoxicating as her smile. Her ability to communicate and carry herself she repeatedly credits to those who surrounded her during her childhood and as she developed into a woman. She described to me a childhood filled with difficulties like having utilities turned off because of financial problems. The house she grew up in had no central heat and the family had to rely on a kerosene heater. No matter what difficulty the family faced, though, she remembers that they always stuck together and worked through each problem until they were back on their feet.

Her description of opportunities in her life comes in three distinct forms: her family, her faith, and the various mentors in her life. She describes her family as always believing in her and supporting her.

“If I had a dream, they never told me I couldn’t do it because we didn’t have enough money.”
Her family would work to help give her opportunities to follow her dreams. She credits this to much of her early belief in herself against all the odds facing her. When she was eleven, Monica wanted to compete in a pageant so her dad told her she had to raise the money. Before long, the family began selling barbecue to fund the money she needed. The first pageant she entered and won was called Miss Pre-Teen Louisville. As the winner of the first Miss Pre-Teen Louisville, Monica was interviewed by Dawn Gee and during that interview told the reporter that she would someday grow up and take her job. This comment from a feisty eleven year old was the beginning of a life-long mentorship and friendship between the two women.

Monica wanted to continue on with her pageant work and her father became her sidekick as a “pageant dad” in his signature brown pants and khaki shirt. He also became her official coach, always ready with questions when she got into the car and Monica credits him with giving her the vision to work hard to achieve her goals. She calls her father “one of those rare geniuses that can figure out what needs to be done to be successful not matter what’s in front of him.”

With her family behind her, the second part of Monica’s success came through a series of mentors that she believes divinely shaped and protected as her life unfolded and she chased her dreams. The first came at an early age after Monica began regular speaking engagements. When she was just 14, she began praying and trying to find her purpose after reading The Purpose Driven Life. She accepted an invitation to speak at a local Baptist church and afterward a young girl approached her and simply asked, “Are you rich?” Monica describes that moment as a point in which her purpose became clear. Her parents had taught her that “with faith plus education, you can gain success.” Now she wanted to make that her platform.

During that same event, Monica met a man named Verman Windburn, who subsequently brought her into his prison ministry, where she met another man named Rod McGavock, With no living grandparents, she lovingly gave Rod the title of “Gramps Dude” and for years, Monica remained very close to him, even placing his special title in her wedding program. This relationship became pivotal in her development and she credits him for making sure she had braces and voice lessons. Verman secured weekly hair appointments for her and so many others from this prison ministry helped her in various ways. By being available to help this ministry, she learned at a young age that her father’s words were so true: “you can never out give God.”

Others came through her life and provided different types of support and all taught her valuable life lessons. Cathy Perkins was a personal stylist that Monica met, who became a mentor and great help when she needed rides to her many events. With only one parent who could drive, Monica was extremely indebted to this woman. Monica also learned more about personal style and fashion. Teresa Morgan was a woman Monica met who was volunteering at a large FCA event. Even though her own children were all grown, Teresa wanted to give back and continued to serve in this organization. Monica was enthralled by this lady and her attitude. From this relationship, Monica credits the idea of learning that if you want something, go get it. Debbie Robbins was another mentor in Monica’s life. Debbie became a surrogate mom during Monica’s time in the Miss America pageant system who Monica feels she learned how to be a better hostess and to be selfless and volunteer more. Barbara Curry was a woman Monica met after being Miss Kentucky. Throughout the years, this woman helped Monica in every way that she could and taught her how to live life and have fun.

During high school, Monica had another mentor named Paris Anderson. He had a local radio show and invited Monica to come and talk about an upcoming event she was helping promote for ECHO (Exploited Children’s Help Organization). When she arrived at the station, Paris turned the show over to her and a couple of other young people for the day, then kept inviting them back each week. Before long, Monica was doing it alone and hosting a weekly show called Post It Up. During that time, she learned how to host, produce, and even engineer the show and only left the show when she won Miss Kentucky and simply had too many other obligations.

During the Miss Kentucky years, she had a mentor named Tar Bassett who made sure that Monica’s family had the wardrobe that they needed for all their appearances. Others contacted Caesar’s palace (now Horseshoe) in Indiana and secured a room for her parents at the Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City. Plane tickets were also purchased but then the tragic event of September 11 and they weren’t sure it was safe to fly. Monica was already in Atlantic City due to the two week preparations required for the event. People heard of her parent’s plight and rallied together again, renting a van for her parents to make the long drive up to watch their daughter compete.

“There were many mentors like Dawn Gee and Rachel Platt. Mentorship isn’t something that can happen in one day. They walk alongside you and your relationships change with the seasons of your life.”

These people helped form her in many different ways and through them she learned unique things. Listening to her talk about them, one can easily see how deeply she appreciates their input throughout her life. Her family and the mentors in her life all played a huge part of who Monica is today; but one final element that has shaped her life is her faith. Throughout our interview, Monica brought her faith and her relationship to God up multiple times. This has been a cornerstone of her life and her development.

At the age of 11, Monica was attending a church camp with her brother. She came forward to accept Jesus and her brother did too, then they were then baptized together. She describes her faith as part of her life and that of her family. When she met her husband, it was through church and they became friends for several years before deciding to date and marry. Her devotion to God and her family has carried through to raising her own girls today.

Being a part of the Miss America system has brought her into another “family”, which was coined the “sisterhood of the traveling crown” by one of her friends. More mentors continued to emerge in her life and I got the sense that she felt as if there were many more people she wanted to credit. She has learned that there is “life after the crown” from Heather French Henry and that “you’re not really going to know yourself until you hit 40” from Debbie Robinson, two other women that have influenced and mentored Monica through the years.

The money from Miss Kentucky helped fund her for a year as Monica traveled and spoke and worked on her platform. She was able to complete her education from the University of Louisville as a result of several scholarships as well. Once she reached this goal, Monica was unsure what she wanted next. She took one year and worked toward expanding her singing career but felt that God was calling her in a different direction. One opportunity that had been offered was to be the traffic person for WLKY, a position that was offered again when she returned to Louisville. After starting in this position, she quickly moved to reporting and weekend anchor then to her current position as a morning anchor. Starting at 5:00 AM every weekday morning, while many people are barely rising, she has already been up for at least two hours, preparing to deliver the news along with the rest of the morning team. From that young feisty girl with a passion for pageants and service she has transformed herself into an influential morning face in our community who learned from meeting Clarence Thomas years ago to “stay focused and remember that luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” She also told me, “All of us are given a certain amount of Grace to do something…
Grace to do the job and handle the responsibility and to know that we’re not perfect. I’m far from perfect. Please don’t put me on that pedestal.” But I think my favorite quote from her was this:

“I don’t want to die with any potential left in me—a dream deferred or not accomplished.”

With all that she has already been able to do, she is well on her way to meeting that goal and I’m excited to see what dreams she has left. I’m positive that there is much more left to her story and Louisville is lucky to call her our own.

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It’s Football Time in Georgia

My new book is starting to look more like a book and less like an idea. The story is about a football team…but it’s much more than that. I haven’t settled on a title yet; but I will definitely share it along with the cover when it’s ready.

For now, I want to share a quote from one of the players on this magical team. The player was asked a simple question: What were your teams’ greatest strengths this season?

Here is how this player answered…and I have seen similar answers from almost every player and coach that I’ve interviewed.

“Our greatest strength was our unselfishness. Football is the ultimate team game and you simply cannot win big with individuals. No one, players and coaches included, cared who got the credit. No one complained about how many times they got the ball, or how many passes were thrown to them, or how many tackles they got. No parents complained about playing time for their sons and the coaches held it all together. It was a true team effort, really amazing for that many people to work unselfishly for a great goal and then achieve it.”

I look forward to bringing this book to print…I hope that many coaches, parents, and players will read this story and learn from the research that I’ve done to uncover the secrets of a championship team. Read that answer above one more time and let the words sink in. There is much more to a team than what you see on game night. What I’m uncovering is truly amazing and I cannot wait to share it all with you!

More on this book later…

Follow me here and on Facebook @The Green Author for updates and news.

 

 

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New Series: People of The Ville

In a world full of controversy and hate, I decided to try to find the positive spin on life. Most of my posts on Facebook and Twitter are happy and lighthearted; but I wanted to go a step further to create a series to highlight people in a positive manner from the area in which I live.

I think there are a lot of unsung heroes and people who work hard every day that go without notice. Some of the people that I choose might be more familiar to the public than others; but either way, I want to highlight the positive side of our town and hopefully inspire positivity in the world.

I hope you enjoy this new series as I embark on a new adventure to shine a new light on the world around us.

For my first person, I have chosen a very special woman in our area:

Monica Hardin

She is a local news anchor and a former Miss Kentucky. I hope you will enjoy learning more about this amazing young woman when I post her interview.

This first interview will be posted on July 10…just a few short weeks away!

Keep coming back for more information about the series!

 

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