aspire

Ethan "Live a Good Story"

Ethan "Live a Good Story"

“Why not play catch every day for an entire year?

Two of my mantras are “Baseball brings people together,” and “Baseball tells the best stories.” These mantras undergird almost all of my writings. Playing catch every day felt like a natural way to truly test those mantras. Ten-year old me couldn’t wait to get started. Forty-three year old me worried about my arm falling off.

As is the usual, inspiration left the vast majority of the details to me. Each day, I was forced out of my comfort zone to ask friends and family and complete strangers if they’d be willing to toss a ball with me. Rejections far outnumbered agreements.

But living a good story demands risk, courage, and perseverance. So I press on, trusting that someone will eventually say yes each day. Every morning, I wake up both anxious and excited to see what story will unfold that day.”

ETHAN’S STORY HERE

Carrie "My Little Overcomer"

Carrie "My Little Overcomer"

“Something is wrong with Carrie. Her head is too small and she does not have a soft spot.” I was stunned as I did not have an idea as to what this meant at all. My wife Nancy said, through tears, that the doctor felt that Carrie’s brain was too small and that there was probably brain damage. The doctor had come to a quick conclusion that Carrie may never develop intellectually at all. The doctor envisioned, because her head was so small, that Carrie’s brain was severely damaged. Despite our strong faith in God, we were crushed.

Her Doctor recommended we look into institutions for Carrie as he imagined she would need continual care since she would never be able to do anything for herself. Nancy had nothing to do with any of that and she looked at the doctor defiantly and said, “God has given Carrie to us and He will take care of her.”

That was over 40 years ago, and even still today, one day at a time - Carrie was, and is overcoming.

READ CARRIE’S INCREDIBLE STORY HERE

Jennifer "My Acoustic Neuroma Journey"

Jennifer "My Acoustic Neuroma Journey"

"I went in for a hearing test and was told I was completely deaf in my right ear. They gave me three options for suddenly becoming deaf; 1) bad luck, 2) past cheerleading incident that just surfaced, or 3) brain tumor. So of course, I only heard option 3 and began to panic. I had an MRI done immediately and was told that I had an acoustic neuroma (a tumor on the main nerve leading from the inner ear to the brain).

After much thought and discussion with my parents and boyfriend (now husband), we chose the surgery route (posterior auricular approach). I took a big risk in hopes my facial nerve could be saved so I could continue with my career dreams.

I woke up to find I had no movement in the right side of my face. I was weak and had no balance on the right side of my body either. My right eye couldn’t blink, my mouth could not close all the way, I felt like anything they said could go wrong with my surgery did go wrong.
...
My story is unique and I want others to see that a positive recovery is possible amongst those days when you feel the whole world is against you. I want to help in any way I possibly can, I feel as if it is my job to do so."

JENNIFER'S STORY HERE

Jennifer "The Pay-It-Forward Hero"

Jennifer "The Pay-It-Forward Hero"

"One year in college while at a Rugby tournament, I ended up attending my first ever women’s boxing match at one of the local bars. I was instantly hooked. I happened to be standing next to a boxing scout who, tickled by my enthusiasm, asked me if I would try out for boxing. Long story short, he had watched me play rugby earlier that day and said that I did not hit like a girl. I soon signed on and became a Women’s Professional Boxer for the WIBF. (Not bad for a girl who had to be the sports manager in high school)

In 2015, I realized how sick I was of being a struggling single mom. I wanted to do something to help others. I started a pay-it-forward group on Facebook called 'Kansas City Heroes'. My group was designed to help people with disabilities, senior citizens, and single-parent homes by providing acts of kindness. We are a grassroots organization that wants to get the “pay it forward” message out.

It does not take a lot of money to help someone in need, just a lot of love and compassion. We can all deal out some of that!"

Jennifer's story HERE.

Sergeant Bobby "The Oklahoma Standard"

Sergeant Bobby "The Oklahoma Standard"

"I am Sergeant Bobby and I have been on the "HOT Team" (Homeless Outreach Team) for a little over two years with the Oklahoma City Police Department. The "HOT Team" works with the city’s homeless population, trying to connect them with housing and other services…in hopes of getting them off the street. Especially now with it being so hot, we also deliver water and other necessities, such as food, to those in need.

I would like to advise other communities trying to help the homeless and those in need in their communities to not give up. You know, sometimes you’ll run across people and they’re very content with their situation. I think that was the hardest lesson for me to learn coming over here. You find a homeless veteran in the woods and you know the VA has a place for them to stay that night, they don’t have to live in the woods, but for whatever reason you can’t get them to make that change. You’ve kind of got to understand that it’s a lifestyle and when they are ready for help and ready to make a change, as a community you have to be ready to help them out. Ultimately, I think everybody always deserves another chance."

Read Sergeant Bobby's story HERE.

Kelly "Blindsided"

Kelly "Blindsided"

“On February 19, 2010, I lost the love of my life, who was only 46 years old, to melanoma. We were totally blindsided!

I wasn't looking to place blame because nothing I said or did was going to bring my husband back. Instead, my desire was to honor Richard’s memory by fighting in my own community. The pain Richard endured wasn't going to be in vain. Melanoma was not going to get the final say! The more I learned about melanoma, and the more I learned how little others knew about the realities of this cancer, the more passionate I became to do something about it. I didn't want anyone else to be caught off. Melanoma is the fastest growing preventable cancer in North America and, while it is one of the easiest cancers to self-detect, if not caught early, it is among the most incurable of all cancers.

As a caregiver, I felt defenseless. Richard's melanoma was relentless and we could not control how quickly it spread. But what I could control was spreading melanoma awareness so that others might avoid the same heartache that my family went through.”

KELLY’S FULL STORY HERE.

Cameron and Zeke "Alone-Together"

Cameron and Zeke "Alone-Together"

If you are the parent of a child with special needs, there are books for you. If you have a son or daughter with a disability, there are support groups. There are lots of other people out there that will tell you how to parent. “What there isn’t, is someone to show you how to be a sibling to someone with special needs.” And yet somehow, Cameron was born knowing how to be the best sister to her brother. According to Cara, their mother, Cameron, “has shown complete fearlessness, dedication, and maturity,” all without being taught. From her daughter, Cara has learned that “to be gentle, and to fight CAN be the same thing.” 

 

To read "Alone-Together" click HERE.

Rachel's Story "Power in Our Choices"

Rachel's Story "Power in Our Choices"

Just as I had to experience new things to find my niche as a child, I am now doing the same with exploring my career. I have worked in a couple of agencies for social services and mental health and learned about the less pretty needs of our community. I have also gotten my feet wet with investigating a career in nursing, but I don’t know if that will be my best fit in the end. I want to use my experience and enthusiasm to bring happiness and success to those in need, especially to the children who are at the mercy of this world that they have no control over.

Read Rachel's story HERE. 

Aubren's Story "Fight For You"

Aubren's Story "Fight For You"

 I find my passion in my work, helping kids find homes who are entering foster care. I live so that I can have children and live my life with the most gracious husband. I want others to see the value inside that can be hidden by mental illness and help those who see only dark to finally see that there is so much light in life. I want to become a foster parent so that I can provide a safe and loving environment for the innocent children who so desperately need a loving home. Eventually, I would like to be a social worker so that I can help others who struggle. I want to be all that God intended me to be. I want to live out my purpose.

Read Aubren's Story HERE.

Jaide "She Burned With Passion"

Jaide "She Burned With Passion"

"I want people to be able to look back at my life and be able to say, "She burned with passion.  She saw everything and everyone and appreciated them for their greatness and beauty.  She truly cared for each and every person she met.  She lived a life dedicated to helping and caring for others."

Read Jaide's story HERE.

Izy's Story "I'm Helping the World"

Izy's Story "I'm Helping the World"

I like to give a lot of gifts and cards to people and I have always wanted to help homeless people. While at the grocery story, I noticed a chocolate bar with Santa’s face on it and dollar signs (it was a $1 million-dollar bar). I said to my mom, “I wish this was real. If I had that much money, I would give it all away to homeless people.” 

Read Izy's amazing story HERE.

Robert's Story "The Addiction of Santa Clausdom"

Robert's Story "The Addiction of Santa Clausdom"

Four weeks later I was already searching the internet for costumes, boots, toys and anything else that could be used to further enhance my image as Santa Claus. I could not wait until next year. I was smitten, hooked and addicted, to the image of Santa and the magical effects that it had on children and adults of all ages.

Trina's Story "My Twisted Gift"

Trina's Story "My Twisted Gift"

The process of running connects me to my faith, gives me hope, and teaches me that life is a marathon and not a sprint. A few running milestones have blessed me in 2016. After the tragic Joplin tornado in 2011, I decided to participate in the Joplin Memorial Run and have every year. This year, at the Joplin Memorial Half Marathon, I set a PR for the 13.1 mile race with a time of 1:39:44. Earlier this year I was also grateful to have set the Missouri state record for the 25K and broke the 20K time for my age division.  I’m grateful every time I run and plan to do it for the rest of my life, God willing.

Read Trina's amazing story HERE.

Ronald's Story "The Spiritual Doctor"

Ronald's Story "The Spiritual Doctor"

the Lord spoke to me and said, "Ronald, do not do this, do not take the children to their father. You be their father. Be their mother. Be their uncle. Be everything to them." It was a very sleepless night because I saw how big the burden was for me. I told my mother and family the Lord is requiring me to take all of the children.

Read Ronald's full story HERE.

Riley's Story "Authentic"

Riley's Story "Authentic"

"When I have had the opportunity to speak about my experiences thus far, the universal message I try to emphasize is that we have got to let go of the habits that continue to destroy us."

READ MORE OF RILEY'S INSPIRING STORY HERE.

Tracy's Story "Ooz Wow Moments"

Tracy's Story "Ooz Wow Moments"

I had spent my entire career trying to make a difference in the lives of my students, trying to teach them not just to think, but to feel, to act. They gave me meaning. They gave me purpose. They needed me, and I certainly needed them. I decided to approach retirement like I approach everything else in my life. I was determined to OozWow!


Read Tracy's story HERE.
 

Brandy's Story "Pathways To Heal"

Brandy's Story "Pathways To Heal"

"I always intuitively knew from a young child that my growth here on earth would be big. I chose this path. All of this is what my soul chose."

Read "Pathways To Heal" HERE.

Taylor's Story "No Expense Spared"

Taylor's Story "No Expense Spared"

"I set out to be an artist and today, decades later, I am still just that! Where many imagine, I sculpt. Where many talk, I plan. Where many dream, I make it happen."

Read Taylor's complete story HERE.

Laura's Story "Live as if Anything is Possible"

Laura's Story "Live as if Anything is Possible"

"At fifteen, competing internationally in Olympic Flatwater Kayaking, a sport I had neither witnessed nor experienced before that year, seemed impossible;but, my parents borrowed a boat and made arrangements for me to spend the summer at an Olympic Training Center development program."

Read Laura's story HERE.

John's Story "He Dusts Me Off"

John's Story "He Dusts Me Off"

Our mission is to be a place of restoration and to restore Christ in the community. Everyone is equal at the foot of the cross.

Read John's full story "He Dusts Me Off" HERE.

Chole's Story "Doors"

Chole's Story "Doors"

"Helen Keller once said,  'When one door closes, another door opens. But often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us."

Read Chloe's full story HERE.

KRISTA'S STORY "CHAPTER 1 - HOPE"

KRISTA'S STORY "CHAPTER 1 - HOPE"

"I was stripped until what was left was void of superficial distraction. And then I began healing. Rebuilding. And learning what makes me, me. This is my story of a rebirth. It is a story of hope."

READ MORE ABOUT KRISTA'S JOURNEY HERE.

 

Jake's Story "Content"

Jake's Story "Content"

"Four years ago, I was on a reality TV talent competition. At the moment, that's what I wanted. I was young--14--and I think I just wanted everything to happen quickly, so I auditioned. I made it somewhat far on the show, and life was moving rapidly. After I was on the show, I was in a very weird place, because in my heart I felt something wasn't right..."

Read Jake's full story "Content" HERE.

MADI'S STORY "A NEW NORMAL"

MADI'S STORY "A NEW NORMAL"

"I have decided that I want to be a doctor someday at a children’s hospital. If I met a girl my age who just found out that she had diabetes, I would tell her ‘You are going to have to get used to being poked all the time, but it is going to be okay.’"

READ MORE ABOUT MADI'S STORY AND ASPIRATION HERE.

Chandler's Story "Optimism"

Chandler's Story "Optimism"

I just want to use my experience as a positive impact on others because I choose to look on the bright side of things and people in my life. 
 

Read Chandler's full story on being optimistic HERE.

CRYSTAL AND KELLY "LOVE STORY"

CRYSTAL AND KELLY "LOVE STORY"

CRYSTAL: "Compromise, and remember why you got together in the first place. Even though it seems like people change over the years, that same person you fell in love with is  still in there."

READ MORE OF CRYSTAL AND KELLY'S STORY HERE.

HOLLY'S STORY "SIMPLICITY"

HOLLY'S STORY "SIMPLICITY"

"None of it is easy. But you can choose. I will admit that I got lost for a while as I became an adult."

READ HOLLY'S STORY HERE.