Find God on a Neighborhood Walk

By Karen O’Connor:

 According to walkinginfo.org “people do not think to walk in the neighborhood.” But one can overcome that mindset with a little creativity, and in doing so find God on a neighborhood walk. How can one accomplish this?

By building a stronger sense of community, and finding that God is right there among your neighbors and friends as you get acquainted with one another.

“One way to bring neighbors together and expose residents to the experience of walking in their neighborhood is to organize a neighborhood walk.”

Some examples, according to the website, include:

  • A walk to visit a new park or pathway
  • A walk to an event (neighborhood fair, local coffee shop)
  • A nighttime holiday walk to view decorations
  • A fitness walk or walking just for the sake of walking
  • Organized walks for seniors or moms or youth

In Santa Cruz County where I live, people walk while at the same time learning about their city and its history through an organized interest group called Exploring Santa Cruz County. The walks include visits to historic homes, old churches and missions. They also visit museums with commentary on the founders and their contributions to the city.

In San Diego, California Walkabouts, International is a social walking group. It promotes health and exercise with neighborhood walks.

My husband and I decided to add a new dimension to our daily walks. We pray for our family and ourselves and our world. Over the years we’ve received a two-fold benefit: exercise for our bodies and souls.

Whatever strategy or group you choose, it’s definitely possible to find God on a neighborhood walk when you simply stay on the move and pay attention.

For the top five benefits of walking with friends and neighbors take a look at this YouTube video.

©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com, on Facebook,  or on Twitter as @karenoconnor.

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Finding God in Blind Baseball

By Laurie Winslow Sargent:

Beep baseball is the adaptive version of baseball for the blind.

 


An NBBA blind baseball player runs towards the buzzing base to tackle it.

Last month, Ames, Iowa (home of Iowa State University) hosted the 2012 NBBA Beep Baseball World Series for beep ball: baseball adapted for the visually impaired. Shortly before the blind baseball teams arrived in town, I heard the Lion’s Club and Ames Chamber of Commerce sought volunteers, so I signed up.

I knew nothing about beep ball, but have always had a heart for adaptive games since I formerly worked as a COTA in Occupational Therapy (OTs teach the disabled how to use adaptive techniques and equipment in daily life.) I was assigned to “host” the Colorado Storm team to help them feel welcome in our city.

I first met my team after the inspiring opening ceremonies with flag bearing, singing of the national anthem, and an opening prayer.  The Colorado Storm players are athletic men from college age through middle age, with varying degrees of blindness. Some had been blind since birth–others when older suffered from degenerative eye diseases or injuries.

The men work in various professions when not playing ball. Three are massage therapists (one formerly traveled with the Broadway show, Cats.); one is a lawyer, another a college student getting his degree in communication desiring to be a radio broadcaster. All share a love for baseball and the extra challenge presented by playing blind. They also share a great sense of humor and mutual encouragement. They were a fascinating,  funny and inspiring bunch to be around. The Colorado Storm team will forever be in my heart!

Here’s a quick rundown on how beep ball differs from regular baseball. You can also read Beep Baseball in a Nutshell.

  • Since all players have differing degrees of blindness, when batting or running they wear sleep masks.
  • The pitcher can be sighted or partially blind, and is on the same team with the players. He learns to adapt his pitch to each player.
  • The beep ball, an adapted softball, makes a beeping noise as it flies through the air. (The balls are expensive–you can donate beep balls, if you like!)
  • When the ball is hit, players in the outfield listen for the buzzing ball and dive for it. If they grab it, they hold it up in the air.
  • The bases–only at first and third base–emit buzzing sounds when activated. The activation of one or the other is random, adding some element of surprise to the runner. They only need to make it to the one base to score.
  • Umpires (volunteers) call out when when the ball has been caught. They also keep an eye on the bases.

Do you wonder how I was finding God in all this? That was unexpected. Not only did I hear prayers during the opening ceremony, but before each game the men gathered and their coach Jon prayed over them for safety.  (It can be a pretty rough sport!) Coach Jon Walker has been a dedicated beep ball volunteer for 24 years, with his wife and son, which is also inspiring.

One evening, we had the team over for dinner. That wasn’t in my host description, but the guys were simply too much fun to not have over. (And we joked that they were perfect houseguests since I’m a far-from-perfect housekeeper, so they couldn’t see the dust!) We all had a blast together. They men had a Bop It tournament on our deck, our dog played fetch with them, and one player made a pine-cone gun with the elastic on his walking cane. Hilarious! We even had background music as Jon strummed away on a guitar.

The different personalities in the group showed me how God had made each man unique and for a purpose. The way the team volunteers, including some dedicated college students and families, cared for their teammates humbled me.

Here’s a video from YouTube showing how beep ball is played:

Blind Baseball

 2012 World Series Final Results for Beep Ball (Blind Baseball)

1. Taiwan Homerun 2. Austin Blackhawks 3. Bayou City Heat, (Houston) 4. Chicago Comets 5. Colorado Storm 6. RHI X-Treme 7. Indy Thunder 8. Southwest Slammers 9. Boston Renegades 10. Minnesota Millers 11. Lone Star Roadrunners 12. Long Island Bombers 13. Cleveland Scrappers 14. New Jersey  Lightning 15. Wichita Sonics 16. Tyler Tigers 17. Iowa Reapers.

The National Beep Ball Association is online at: www.nbba.org

© Laurie Winslow Sargent. Laurie edits Finding God Daily, and is an author/contributor and magazine article writer. She blogs for parents at  ParentingByFaith.com and for writers at  SellYourNonfiction.com.  Join her on Twitter as @LaurieSargent.

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Finding God in a Job Interview

By Karen O’Connor:

 


Photo by Ambro (FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Today I completed a writing assignment for a job search company, which involved three articles on how to have a successful job interview.

The more I wrote, the more I realized that finding God in a job interview is the action that would make the greatest difference in getting hired.

Yes, it’s important to dress appropriately, to review and practice answering the most common questions a job seeker would likely be asked, and to come prepared to share your experience and skills in a way that will inspire the hiring manager to offer you the job. But without God at your side, guiding and encouraging you, it can be a stressful event, regardless of your qualifications.

Writer Teena Rose, ends her article, 10 Things You Must Do Before That Successful Interview (at jobdig.com), with this advice: “However, you can increase the chances of success by presenting a professional, prepared, and confident you to the interviewer.”

I agree, but I also believe you must take it a step further––by walking into the interview with confidence in God.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV Bible)

With God on your side, his guidance in your ear, and your trust in him as you speak and respond to the interviewer, you will have a successful job interview—regardless of the outcome. Finding God in a job interview is the first step in working according to God’s will for you.

See this great video with John Piper, on how to ask God for help in your job interview search:

©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com

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