Two Beautiful NFL Events

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“Because I have been able to build a reputation as a talented player, I have been able to build futures.   Because I am able to play, I am able to make a difference. Because I have been blessed with a talent, I also have been given a responsibility.”

Warrick Dunn

When less than admirable football stars stay in the news week after week, perhaps we need to spend some extra time  recognizing stellar NFL players like Warrick Dunn and Deshaun Watson. No doubt there are many others, but these two deserve to share the spotlight today. And we who watch from the sidelines need to understand that the media revels in bad news and mostly ignores the good stories.

Warrick Dunn used his talents on the football field for Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to earn a scholarship to Florida State University. At FSU, he not only played well, he took care of his five younger siblings after their mother, a single parent, was killed in the line of duty as a police officer and a part-time security guard. She had been working extra hours to buy a house for her family.

Graduation brought the opportunity to play professional football with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and later,  the Atlanta Falcons. He used his opportunity with above average income during those years to help others and to establish a charitable foundation. A more complete story of his life is available as an autobiography, Running for My Life.

One of those whom he helped, was Deshaun Watson, a star football player at Gainesville High School in Georgia. Dunn found out that Deshaun’s mother was helping build houses with Habitat for Humanity, hoping to earn one for herself and her four children in 2006. Warrick Dunn stepped in to buy a four bedroom house, fully furnished for the Watsons.  It was so fully furnished that even the refrigerator was well stocked with food on the day they moved in.

Deshaun finished his education at Gainesville High and then at Clemson University, where he led his team to a national championship.  This week he walked out on to the field to play his first game with the Houston Texans.

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Deshaun and two of the women he helped.

Instead of depositing his first game check for $27,000, Deshaun divided it into thirds and gave $9,000 each to three of the team’s cafeteria workers who lost everything  when Hurricane Harvey flooded their homes.

After all, he had received a lot more than a mere house from his benefactor, Warrick Dunn. He received both inspiration and a good example.

A Grateful Heart Creates Beauty

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This is a picture of my mother in an earlier, happier time when she visited in Garden Hills. This was on the back deck and she was busily setting the table as if the King of Siam was coming for dinner. Instead, it was just us kids, eating supper together.

If you have followed this blog awhile, you will remember that her memory is practically non-existent now. It’s so bad that I have to re-introduce myself when I call her. And an hour later, she may or may not remember that I called at all, much less anything we discussed.

But I still call several times a week because she is so happy to talk, whether she remembers much about the call or not. She doesn’t forget that warm, happy feeling of being loved and does all that she can to return it.  Despite some cognitive losses, she’s never forgotten to show gratitude.

This weekend, when I talked to the person caring for her, she interrupted our conversation to explain to him how happy the supper she had just eaten made her feel. She extolled its delicate flavors and nutrition as if some famous chef had just dropped in to prepare it. Mind you, she’s served three meals a day, many of which are boring and repetitive. Still, she thanks them out loud for any effort on her behalf.  Every. Single. Time.

 And she’s never lost that rare ability to bring out the best in other people just by having a generous attitude toward them. I have watched many social misfits that everyone else found boring, blossom and actually becoming rather witty after an hour or two of her rapt attention. Strangely enough, often they even became easier on the eye as they relaxed in the warmth of her approval.

As I eavesdropped over the phone, I began remembering how often I had seen her eyes light up and her face soften as she tried to convince someone else of his great value to the rest of the world.

Apparently, gratitude brings beauty to both the giver and the receiver. Maybe we don’t get halo’s, but everyone appears more attractive and happier when they have a grateful heart. Perhaps we should try it more often.

Kierkegaard on Beauty

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Adversity draws men together and produces

beauty and harmony in life’s relationships,

just as the cold of winter produces ice-flowers

on the window panes, which vanish with the warmth.

Soren Kierkegaard

     There have been far fewer pictures on the Internet of people helping people with Irma than there were with Harvey. It’s probably because there has been such a huge problem with power and Internet capabilities. I have heard of many beautiful stories about people graciously offering their homes to strangers in need, repairing a neighbor’s generator, and sharing the precious gas supplies in the early aftermath, but have found almost no pictures. Lots of hard work to be done, but, in many situations, people have graciously risen to demands of the situation with a generosity that inspires us all.

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One Beautiful Car, Many Beautiful People

 

 

 

First Lt. Jonathan Rozier loved his wife, Jessica, his baby son, Justin, and his new  convertible, a 1999 Toyota Celicia GT, but he left them all behind to serve his country in Iraq. Sadly he never returned.

Jessica ended up selling his car when times got tough for the young widow trying to make ends meet. Sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and make hard decisions.

That was in 2003.

In 2017, the baby son begin driving, and she started to daydream about finding his father’s old convertible and buying it for him. Somehow she traced its whereabouts to Pleasant Grove, Utah and posted a picture of the car and its first owner on the town’s FaceBook page along with the car’s history.

Pleasant Grove’s leader of the patriotic group, Follow The Flag, saw the posting and began reporting the story among his wide circle of acquaintances. Sure enough, one of Kyle Fox’s friends happened to see the car, the one day it was parked on the neighborhood street instead of in the owner’s garage.

The fairly new owner of the Celicia GT, Jorge Cruz, had dreamed about owning that very model since he was a teenager himself. But when he heard about Justin, he readily agreed to sell.

“I believe nothing happens for just chance. Something has a purpose in life, and if you can make somebody happy, do it,” Cruz said. “It’s bittersweet for me, but that’s a good feeling somebody is going to be happy out of this.”

Seeing the Facebook post about buying his father’s car for Justin convinced Cruz to sell it.

Meanwhile, Kyle Fox began a Go Fund Me page to fix up the car before returning it to Justin and his mother in Texas. He said that it was his way of saying “thanks” to Lt. Jonathon Rozier for his sacrifice for our freedom.

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Lt. Jonathan Rozier with his son, Justin, before deployment to Iraq.

He Led A Beautiful Life

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From PowerLine:

I first wrote about Rick Rescorla in 2003 after finishing James Stewart’s Heart of a Soldier, the book based on Stewart’s New Yorker article “The real heroes are dead.” (“The real heroes are dead” is what Rescorla would say in response to recognition of his heroism on the battlefield in Vietnam.) It’s a good book that touches on profound themes in a thought-provoking way: life and death, love and friendship,  Read Here: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/09/a-day-to-be-proud-8.php

From UK Daily Mail:

Twin Towers hero who predicted terror attacks led 2,700 to safety… but died as he went back to look for stragglers
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2033919/Twin-Towers-hero-predicted-terror-attacks-led-2-700-safety–died-went-look-stragglers.html#ixzz4sOH0w87F

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2033919/Twin-Towers-hero-predicted-terror-attacks-led-2-700-safety–died-went-look-stragglers.html?ito=email_share_article-bottom

From Conservative Tree House:

A man who was convinced the Twin Towers would be targeted in a terror attack led 2,700 people to safety from the World Trade Center before being killed when he went back in looking for stragglers. Security chief Rick Rescorla […]

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