Tag Archives: Notre Dame University

The Third String…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂


Inspiration this week comes from the Gospel of Luke 21: 1-4

The Widow’s Offering: “While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. ‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus said, ‘this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.'”


My favorite brunette is a student at Notre Dame University. Her daddy taught her to both love and understand the game of football from the time that she was a little girl. She’s a loyal Fighting Irish fan, and also works as a writing tutor on campus where she helps several of the football players with their studies. She traveled to the game in Chicago last weekend as the team took on Wisconsin, and managed to get an awesome seat in the first row. In the middle of the second quarter, we actually got to see her on TV 🙂

My favorite farmer and I try to be “good Notre Dame parents”. As a life-long Husker, that’s a bit of a stretch for Matt but I’m proud of how he has embraced Ashley Grace’s dreams and the college family that she chose. As we watched the game, it struck me how seamlessly Notre Dame was able to transition from starting quarterback Jack Coan to third string quarterback Drew Pyne when injury plagued the Irish. Drew didn’t miss a beat when coach called him to the field, and his teammates clearly showed up to support him. They had a plan, they believed in each other, and they went to work. They gave everything that they had, and it was enough to lead them to a clear victory of 41-13 when the clock ran out in the 4th quarter. It was pretty clear to me that the Fighting Irish players were unconcerned with the “third string” label as they instead chose to value Drew as a teammate knowing that he was willing to give everything that he had as they fought together for victory.


Our church family is currently doing a fall study entitled “Experiencing God”. God’s placed many different things on my heart as we’ve begun this study, but I think that the most profound is a more complete realization of how much God loves each and every one of us. He doesn’t compare us or label us, instead he pours into us so that we can be in a deep and meaningful relationship with Him. I don’t think God calls any of us “third string”. We are simply the sons and daughters upon whom he bestows an unconditional love that leaves us baffled, yet blessed.

It amazes me what God can do through us when we let Him. He asks us for our love, our trust, our belief, and our obedience. He takes those things and puts them together to create light and goodness. He doesn’t count the coins, He values and empowers the heart that gives all. I am learning to not limit the God who loves me, and trusting that when He calls me to action that as long as I give my all, I will be enough. This helps me to be an active and energetic member of Team Jesus, ready to let God work through me whenever He calls my number 🙂 I am more fully understanding that when I lean into Jesus, I cease to be the “third string” and begin being the one through whom God can bring victory.

When we give our all, it is enough. God blesses it, and then blesses others with it. Today, I am thankful to the Fighting Irish football team for allowing God to work in them and through them to help bring this message deeper into my heart.

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Why Notre Dame?

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂


Inspiration this week comes from 1 Corinthians 12: 12-13

The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.”


Last week, we took our favorite brunette to college. This week, she begins her Notre Dame journey with an intent to study Political Science and Spanish. After spending the last couple of years watching her investigate various colleges and universities all across the country, it is rewarding for me to see her settle in a place where she feels at home.

You may well ask, Why Notre Dame?

I’ve heard the question many times since she made her decision. Why does an intellectual farm kid from “small town America” — a dedicated member of the Parkview Baptist Church family — choose to study at an elite Catholic University? It’s a reasonable question. While you’d have to ask her for her specific thoughts on the topic, I find direction in the above bible verse from 1 Corinthians 12: 12-13.


She’s grown up in a pretty unique house. It’s likely her dad’s fault that she is intellectual by nature. And, many may tell you that growing up with ‘Coach Anne’ as her mama left its mark as she is known for always being inspired to work diligently to use the gifts with which God blessed her. That being said, her faith in God provides her anchor and she walks with Jesus in her heart and the Holy Spirit guiding her steps.

She travels the journey as a child of God – a member of the body of Christ. I love how she lets her faith guide her — it inspires me as well as brings peace to my heart. We visited Notre Dame for the first time almost two years ago, and I could tell as we walked around the campus and interacted with the students that she felt God’s pull to join the Fighting Irish family. She had three main requirements for college and Notre Dame had them all:

  1. To attend a school where she could continue to build her faith.
  2. To be a part of a family that valued service to others.
  3. To find intellectual challenge as she worked to broaden both her perspective and her empathy.

When it came down to it, the religious label mattered little to her as she centered her focus on the foundation of Christian faith:

A belief in God the Father

A loving relationship with Jesus the Son who not only gave us Salvation but also the gift of the

Holy Spirit to guide us in our human journey.

She reminds me that the important question is not whether we are called to be Baptist or Catholic, rather it is are we willing to accept God’s love and submit to His guidance in order to strive to live a life of faith and grace. The team is stronger when its dedicated members are both passionate and diverse. The Holy Spirit likely does not speak to any two of us the same way, but He calls all of us to be a member of God’s team.

Answering the call will enable her to develop and deepen her faith during her time on campus through a focus on service, learning, and spreading the hope that stems from Jesus’s love.

In a time of chaos — In a world of conflict  — In a culture riddled with labels

I think that perhaps many of us could find a lesson in her journey. Her decision was not a comfortable one, and she will experience both times of joy and times of trial throughout her life as a member of the Fighting Irish family. But, Jesus calls each one of us to be a member of the body of Christ. We truly say “yes” when we submit to His invitation with a heart full of love and a mind rooted in His word for guidance.

I left her Saturday morning with a few tears in my eyes, but confidence in my heart as her eyes radiated God’s love and her Bible stood proudly on her desk.

 

 

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The Glow That Illuminates…

Last week, I joined Idaho rancher Kim Brackett to film a podcast for the monthly joint effort by Purdue University and Beef Magazine known as The Beef Roundtable.  Our podcast will run in December and offers information on “sharing the beef story”.  As I prepared for the filming, I found a quote that resonated with me.  I think that it provides a perfect point of reflection for the week of Thanksgiving.  James Thurber states:

There are two kinds of light — 

The glow that illuminates and the glare that obscures.

Finding the quote sparked some quiet personal introspection in the days that followed.  I asked myself:

  • Do my words and actions provide a glow that illuminates? 
  • Am I a vehicle that allows others to find new and beneficial knowledge for their journey of continuous improvement?
  • Do I make a positive difference in the lives of others?

There exists no greater honor than being a catalyst for positive change.  I not only believe that on a philosophical level, but I also try to work for that in my life.  It starts with a willingness to respect the thoughts of others, and continues with the quiet strength needed to persevere kindly amidst a myriad of opinions.

Over the weekend, I took my oldest daughter to visit Notre Dame University and then attend the Division 1 NCAA College Cross Country Championships. My favorite farmer and I believe that our girls will gain both knowledge and motivation by experiencing life outside of our farm.  While it is hard for us to imagine them leaving home, we realize that a broad perspective will provide an illuminating glow as they make their way to adulthood.

The trip accomplished a number of “bucket list” items for my favorite brunette.

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On the way to Notre Dame, we pulled off the road and found Lake Michigan.  The pure joy you see on my daughter’s face comes not just from seeing the lake and dipping her toes in the water; but also from her realization that I value what is important to her.

Sometimes the glow that illuminates exists by simply allowing others to realize that what holds importance to them holds similar importance to you — just because you care. 

I found this unselfish spirit pervasive on the Notre Dame campus.  It was obvious to me that the culture of compassion and respect found on campus provided a healthy and happy environment for the students. Just as I know that I will always treasure my daughter’s smile, I also realize that fueling it comes from her innate ability to find her passion and express it with kindness.  The true light that illuminates glows from an unselfish desire to improve the lives of others.

Creating this type of culture rests within our reach — we simply need to embrace it.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

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