Making a Splash

 

 

While my husband helps coach, I take pictures of the football team. It’s just something that I do with my nervous energy—something I can give back to the families so that they can sit and enjoy the games. 

This week, our team lost a tough game. It was difficult to watch, but the guys played hard. As has been every game this season, rain poured down almost the entire game, and so I was decked out in my rain boots and rain gear, carrying an umbrella as I snapped away along the sidelines.

We live next to the school now, so I walk to and from the games. Even in bad weather, it’s a beautiful walk and I enjoy it every time. As I began my walk home after the game this week, the rain was pouring down on my umbrella and I was thankful for my gear that kept me warm and dry the whole night. On the sidelines, my rain boots had become caked with mud and grass, so as I walked home, I tried to stomp off some of the debris. 

As I walked along the road home, I encountered many puddles, which I avoided to stay as dry as possible. Before long, though, I started seeking the puddles and rinsing my boots to remove all the gunk. I began enjoying splashing in the puddles so much that I found myself splashing more than necessary, and by the time I was almost home, I was actually seeking out every puddle that I could find.

I’m sure anyone watching would have instantly thought that I was insane and maybe you do, too, as you read this. I highly recommend that you try it sometime soon. Slip on some waterproof boots and grab an umbrella and don’t worry about what the neighbors think. Even in the midst of a rainy cold night after a devastating loss, those puddles were refreshing and almost invigorating. I submit that you will enjoy this little pleasure, even if you have to do it in the dark when no one is looking.

I’m certain that the small things in life are more important than we think and the big things that take our time probably won’t matter to us much in our last days. I want to lay on my death bed and smile thinking about that rainy night when I didn’t care at all what others saw. I splashed in every puddle that I could find.

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The Story of Winning

A true story…

Three years before, they lost every single game. They were small and unnoticed and not one player seemed to garner any attention in the preseason rumblings. The predictions about this season were grim at best, and most believed that this would be a “rebuilding year,” but there was something unusual brewing in the hearts of these young men as they stepped onto the field for the 1998 season for the Darlington Tigers. No one gave them a chance to do much of anything, and so other teams and players in the area were highlighted and heralded. The Tigers began their first game largely ignored and forgotten, having “no respect,” as one of their coaches repeatedly told them.  Even as the wins began to stack up, these young men were often called “lucky,” and still few people saw what was growing inside them all.

It would be a year of surprises with explosions of speed and an uncompromised will that would produce a new definition for the word “TEAM,” creating a powerful “beast mode” that would not yield to anyone or any circumstance. The 1998 season would end after the 15th game in a town several hours away in front of a crowd of over 6,000 people. When it was over, not one of their opponents would be able to understand how they had been defeated, but they would always remember the night that they faced the young men from the 1998 Darlington Tiger football team. Imprinted in everyone’s minds would be the effect of their overwhelming desire to win at all costs with a dedication to each other and their purpose.  Amazingly, not one single senior would be a Division I prospect and the success on the gridiron was due to an uncrushable spirit more than talent alone.

Perfect: The Building of a Championship Culture

The story of winning.

 

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Football, Championships, and Winning

 

 

Winning.

That’s the goal of every season.

Years ago, there was a group of young men who began their season on the football field. There wasn’t much hope since they only had three returning starters and they had lost every single game when they played JV.

Something was different, though, and this time when they stood alongside each other they formed a bond and found their purpose.

The Tigers would experience sicknesses and injuries, but they would endure these quietly and without complaint.

The Tigers would be ignored in the preseason predictions and continue to be called “lucky” as they accumulated wins, but in response, they would seek to prove those people wrong.

The Tigers would face other teams with amazing talent and skills, but they were never intimidated and only continued to play their game.

The Tigers would face one obstacle after another, like last-second goal-line stands and a variety of moments when they were behind or must get a first down to survive, but they would continue fighting and they would never quit.

When the final seconds ticked off the clock of the fifteenth game of the season, they stood together on a field far from their home and claimed their title. When the season ended, it would be the team as a whole that was the hero. Not one single Division I player would emerge from the group of seniors and they could each claim an equal part in their title.

The 1998 Tigers were relentless, mean, committed, and intense, but most of all they were a TEAM. Not team with a small “t,” but a new definition of the word that requires all capital letters. This new word would now have an intensity that only they could understand.

And the 1998 Darlington Tiger football team was perfect.

Read the incredible true story and discover what qualities they possessed that allowed them to defeat every Goliath on their schedule until they stood alone as champions.

Click HERE

Available in both ebook and print editions

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The surprise is here!

The release date is October 1, 2018, but…

…the reunion is this weekend so…

I’m releasing early! The print edition is LIVE now HERE

The ebook will still say “Pre-order” but will be sent out on September 20!

SURPRISE!

Happy reading everyone! Spread the word!

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The New Book Release: Cover Reveal

The new book is almost ready! I’m looking forward to telling you the true story about a team with no limits and how they built a championship through defined winning traits.

The release date has been set for:

October 1, 2018.

What separates those who achieve greatness from everyone else?

A state championship is earned only by those who take it. Some teams will claw their way through a season and then fail in the end. Only a select few will find victory. What are the qualities that separate the winners from those who fall short? 

This story is about a group of young men who fought against all predictions and odds to become the only undefeated team in the state of Georgia in 1998 across all classifications, crushing their opponents week after week through an allegiance of pure passion. Discover the secrets behind the culture that produced this historic season and the intangibles that made them unstoppable…and perfect.

See the new cover below and stay in touch for more information!

Pre-orders to be announced soon.

 

P.S. Follow me on Facebook under The Green Author to get quick updates.

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Perfect: The Building of a Championship Culture

 

Just a bit earlier than expected…I decided to show you a little peek at the book. It’s almost finished. Here is a little taste of the contents!  Enjoy! Book cover, pre-orders, and release date announcements will be soon!

 

Rolling back the clock to the fall of 1998, the football practices began like any other year. My husband, Dr. Tim Green (he likes the title Coach Green better), was coaching the offensive and defensive lines. The group of coaches that he worked with were our friends and they were and still are amazing. We knew it at the time, but we know it even more now. Each one has gone on to great successes and has built legacies in their own way throughout their lives. Those young men that played on that field every Friday night and worked and sweated alongside each other throughout the week have now become men, fathers, husbands, and so much more. Many have now created successes in their own lives much like what they created together—effectively learning to be a champion not only on the field but also in life. The days when they pulled together one of the greatest feats in Rome’s history will never be forgotten. Unranked and unnoticed in the preseason, they rose to become the only undefeated team in the entire state of Georgia in any classification that year. They were David in the face of Goliath over and over every Friday night. No one gave them a chance. No one thought they had it in them. No one gave them any respect. Only they suspected what they could accomplish. They found those elusive qualities and bound them together in ways that cannot be described. They worked hard and depended on each other and they found a way to win every week no matter what they faced, focusing on one game at a time, one play at a time, one movement at a time…lifting each other up and refusing to quit. They found a way to be perfect.

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The People of The Ville: Neale Bennett

 

Through the first 14 years of my life, I grew up as the daughter of an Air Force navigator, moving frequently and sacrificing time with my father as he served our country. He retired and didn’t wish to fly anymore, but many of the pilots he flew with became commercial airline pilots. Often when I’m flying, I wonder about the men and women who are in the cockpit and the rich history of their lives. One such man is a dear friend of ours and I’m pleased to introduce him as the next honoree in The People of The Ville series.

Neale Bennett was born in Louisville and grew up here until he left for college at LSU and later returned to complete his BA in history from U of L. After finishing school, he joined the Air Force, where he trained to be a pilot. In 1992, he came back to Louisville and has lived here and raised his family since that time. Describing his time in the military, he told me this:

“My eight years on active duty were the best professional years of my life. I served with outstanding people who were very committed to the defense of this great country.”

During his career in the Air Force, he trained to be a pilot and underwent several other types of education, such as POW and water survival training. He flew the F-16 both as an operational flight lead/mission commander/FCF pilot and as an RTU instructor pilot at different bases throughout the west. He left active duty to join the Indiana National Guard, where he continued to fly the “Viper”, otherwise knows as the F-16 Fighting Falcon and Neale describes it as “the hottest, most maneuverable fighter in the world.” The missions were intense, often leaving him exhausted after just a short 1-2 hour flight.

Neale was hired by Delta shortly after leaving the service of our country and has been working for them since that time, except for a brief time as a UPS pilot. In our interview, he described his job as a commercial pilot as being “highly technical” and “highly regulated” and continued to describe it to me like this:

“The responsibility is tremendous considering the number of lives and the value of the equipment for which you are responsible. But you are the first to see the sunrise and the thrill is still there after all these years. The size of the team which is involved in getting every flight off the ground is extraordinary. It is also a very interesting career where you can live wherever you desire as long as you are willing to commute to work. You can live in your base or you can live on a mountaintop in Switzerland if you don’t mind the long commute to work.”

With those parameters on living, he has made his home in both Dallas and Louisville at different times and has flown to most all major cities and many small ones as well. His flying credentials also include all states except Hawaii as well as most all of Western Europe, South America, and Central America. For the past 11 years, he has been a Captain for Delta, getting the coveted left seat in the cockpit.

Neale met his wife, Karen, in 1987 when Karen was visiting a college friend in Las Vegas who was married to a pilot who worked with Neale in the same squadron. Even though Karen wasn’t interested in trying to date a pilot via a long-distance relationship, within a year they were married. Karen is a very interesting person herself and comes from a family with three other sisters. She was a talented flute player and dancer, procuring a scholarship in choreography and performance on the Weber State Dance Team at Weber State College (now a university).

When I asked Neale who the most influential person in his life was he named his own father, W. Neale Bennett III MD. He describes his father as a “good athlete, a great doctor, consummate gentleman”. Neale also says about his father that “he admired and respected talent not position” and his father often said, “there is honor in digging ditches if you give your best effort”. These words stayed with Neale throughout his life and according to Neale, his father was caring and patient and was “a life-long learner”. With those types of credentials, Neale also described his father as “the kind of man that [he] wants to become”. Without hesitation, though, Neale also credits his mother, both sets of grandparents, and an aunt and uncle as other people who influenced and supported him throughout his life. He states that “all these great people instilled in me a desire to succeed and not let them down. They were all well-educated, strong people who were also very kind and generous.” One other influence was his dad’s dad, who was a US Air Service pilot in WWI and although Neale never knew him, his choice of career was greatly affected by his grandfather’s history. In a final twist, Neale states that he is now being influenced by his own two sons saying, “I like what they are doing, how they lead their lives and how they approach their professions.”

Choosing to become a pilot like his grandfather was a process. Originally, Neale thought he would pursue a medical career like his father and uncle but was drawn to planes as a child and through adolescence and eventually acquiesced to his dream of becoming a pilot. Interestingly, not only the strong connection to the medical profession through his own father and uncle but also the strong connection to the military and pilot profession has been continued by his own two sons. His son, Beau, was drawn more to the medical world and his son, Chase, was drawn more to the pilot profession and both are now pursuing those dreams. Both also followed in their father’s and grandfather’s and great grandfather’s footsteps and have joined the military, and more specifically the Air Force. Neale describes their personalities as perfectly designed for what they chose to do and he finds it easy to relate to them both. He states, “I feel happiness that the Lord has blessed them with the opportunity to chase their dreams and that they have the determination to be successful.” Knowing both young men as I do, there is no doubt about that success. Beau is now in residency and Chase is in pilot training and I personally feel better knowing another great doctor is in training and that another great pilot is in the service of our country.

A few other questions I asked Neale:

If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

Neale answered with two things:

Speaking of his mother’s dad, whom he was very close to through the years, he stated,

“I wish I had written more to my Grandfather. He was a great man and I loved him tremendously. We were close. As he got older and more infirm, he wanted to receive and read letters or postcards from me telling him about my experiences in the Air Force. We talked on the phone a great deal, but he really wanted letters to read. I wish I had written to him more often.”

 

Another small regret Neale has concerns his time at LSU.

“Selfishly, I wish I had continued to play football at LSU past spring ball of my freshman year. It was a rash, emotional decision to give it up, but I found out later that my position (LB) coach was very impressed with my play and potential. While the decision allowed me to follow the dream of flying in the Air Force with few bad injuries, my football story never really had an ending. I would like to know whether I would have played in Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night or not.”

 

What do you like most about Louisville?

“The people and the size. I don’t think we will ever move because of the tremendous people we have met over the years. When you know people who have influenced you and your children the way Coach Green has; well, I cannot imagine moving somewhere else just because the mercury stays a little higher in the thermometer. Louisville, as a small city has a great deal to offer without the traffic. And it comes back to the people, you are about one person away from knowing everyone. We went to a UL basketball game recently and I saw four people whom I have not seen in a while and it was like I saw them yesterday. Super people from all walks of life. We are blessed to know them and would not like to see that change.”

 

Tell me something you want us to know about you that we haven’t already discussed.

“Long answers have pretty much covered everything. However, I do want you to know this. I have been extremely blessed to have had an exciting, fulfilling life. Whatever success I have attained in life I can directly attribute to the great influences from the people who came before me, the support and strength of my wife, the inspiration I get from our two very fine sons and the camaraderie of outstanding friends. I firmly believe in the Constitution of the USA. I believe that this country like no other offers the opportunity to succeed if one is willing to dream, work hard and sometimes take a chance. Freedom is not free and the liberty to succeed or fail in the attempt is precious. “Hanta Yo – Clear the Way.” (favorite book).

Neale and his wife and boys are a great addition to our city and I was glad to be able to honor him as the next addition to The People of The Ville. Maybe the next time you fly Delta you will be lucky enough to have him in the front of your plane. If you do, you will be in great hands.

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Spiritual Warfare and the Power of Prayer

 

The first book in the Angels and Demons Series is A Rose for Jonathan. I wanted to re-visit this book today in response to several emails and messages as well as new reviews.

This book is about the spiritual warfare that is going on around us at all times and although a fictional story, the subject matter is very real.

Take some time today to review the following scripture in Ephesians 6:12:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Keep in mind that this is not something new…the Bible is very clear that we are at war. I hope that you will learn to use two very valuable weapons available to you: prayer and scripture.

There have been many books written about angels and demons by such great authors as Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti but also by amazing men of God like the late Billy Graham.

A Rose for Jonathan is written as a novel with a mixture of elements such as humor, family, love, and of course, the more ominous and suspenseful forces that are around us–angels and demons.

Many think we become angels when we die but these are separate beings created by God. Did you know that demons are fallen angels? Did you know that Satan is only a demon?

So much is explained between the covers of this book but in the form of a story. I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy this book and the sequel, Quiver, which is now available as well.

My prayer is that these books will bring you closer in your walk with God. I don’t pretend to be a great Bible scholar but I do use the Bible as my source. By reading these books, I pray that you will open your mind and consider the importance of prayer in your life. Visualize the battle that is secretly transpiring around you.

If you are interested in doing a Bible study with either of these books, I will gladly supply some questions the help your group.

For now, click the link below to enter the world that awaits you:

Click Here

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Farmer’s Markets and Blue Jeans

 

 

My family always had a garden. Whether we lived in the suburbs of Washington D.C. or in the countryside of Tennessee, my parents had a plot somewhere near where we grew all manner of vegetables and the occasional watermelon vine. We also visited the “pick your own” farms and picked bushels of items like beans or strawberries on a regular basis throughout the different seasons. My mom’s favorite joke for strawberry picking was that the farm really needed to weigh us all before and after we picked because we ate so many as we filled our baskets. I can still remember the warm sunshine on my back and the red juice dripping down to my elbow as I stuffed one ripe berry after another into my mouth. There was nothing better at that moment…except for the car ride home when we would stop at a small gas station and grab a Yoo-hoo to drink.

For weeks during the summer and fall months, our kitchen was filled with glass mason jars as my parents worked to “put up” food either freezing or canning so much that we had two huge chest freezers full and an entire room filled with all kinds of jams, jellies, and vegetables etc. Some of our freezer space was filled with fresh meats we had raised ourselves or were raised and prepared from our land in Tennessee.

Today, small market-type grocery stores are popping up everywhere along with farmer’s markets. Even big chain grocery stores are doing their best to offer more organic or “farm to table” options. That term has become synonymous with healthy and more desirable eating. Restaurants taut it as part of their marketing campaigns as well. This idea of eating fresh foods directly from the fields of a local farm is not new, although the perceptions around it are.

When I was growing up and my family was growing and picking all this fresh food, we were not considered “cool” for doing so. In fact, alongside us were others like us: we were poor or at the very best lower middle class in income. We did these things because we liked the taste but also out of necessity. I grew up on the freshest and most healthy food imaginable and did so because we had to. Today quite the opposite is true. These “farm to table” and organic/farm fresh foods are pricey and they are trendy. It makes me laugh to see people flocking to buy all these items at exorbitant prices when just years ago these were often given as gifts when families had nothing else to give. My husband often talks about people bringing his family corn or tomatoes as a gift. His father was a preacher in a small town and this is how people often thanked them, where today we might send a card or an email. My family gave jars of blackberry jam or similar items at Christmas.

Somewhere we have flipped the perceptions and the trends. I never realized how healthy we ate until we didn’t eat that way anymore.

Another trend that makes me laugh is the blue jean world. When my parents were young, dungarees or blue jeans were only worn by the poor or working class people. They were considered working clothes and were not fashionable at all. As the years rolled forward, blue jeans not only became more commonly worn but the prices soared and now the more torn and ratty they look, the higher the price tag. These things just make me laugh.

I know there have to be other examples.

One thing that I used to tell my kids as they picked their way through the tumultuous times of middle and high school was that what they think is “cool” now will not necessarily be something that they think is “cool” in a few years. I used to tell them to try and remember what they loved or thought was the best thing ever only a few short years ago. Then I would ask them if they still felt the same way and most of the time the answer was “no”.

If times get tough or things seem stacked against you, just hang in there because it will all change soon. Just like those blue jeans and those trendy farmer’s markets.

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Easter 2018

 

 

Easter. Egg hunts, bunnies, new outfits, Easter baskets, chocolate…the list is long.

So many activities are swirling around us all this holiday weekend. During all the festivities that you may attend, I hope you will take some time to quietly reflect on the true meaning behind it all.

I hope you have fun with your family and I hope you enjoy time worshipping and celebrating that He has risen.

He bled, He died, and He rose again. And He did it for you.

#HeIsRisen #LoveLikeNoOther #Easter2018

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