I-35 Lesson #1

This past weekend included many firsts. Seven of them were…

  • Flying Southwest out of Sarasota
  • Visiting Kansas City, St. Joseph, and Des Moines
  • Renting a Truck
  • Buying a Garmin watch
  • Touring the Glore Psychiatric Museum
  • Running a full marathon one day and running a half marathon the following day
  • Driving I-35

These firsts were part of attempting the I-35 Challenge: Run in Kansas City on Saturday then run in Des Moines on Sunday. Looking back on this trip, I have takeaways that I wasn’t even looking for, not expecting, didn’t know was coming. I’m calling these the 1-35 Lessons.

I-35 LESSON #1: Inspiration comes in many forms.

If you’ve never ran a race or had the chance to be a spectator, I encourage you to make it a goal. Whether it’s in person or virtually, you’ll see things that make you turn your head, raise your eyebrow, clap your hands, maybe even shed a tear. If you look long enough, pretty good chance you’ll find inspiration. For example…

In Des Moines, there was a team of runners who stood out because they were wearing red. But the real reason they stood out was because they were all pushing a wheelchair carrying a disabled person. That’s no joke. They are called My Team Triumph. Check out their mission from their website.

Then there’s this guy. I passed him during the race, but didn’t know his story until hearing him talk about his hobby of running when we happened to be on the same flight the next day. Take a guess how many marathons he’s ran. If you guessed 10…nope. 100…not even close. Try over 700.

These images and others will be in my mind for a long time. These runners showed up. They didn’t settle. And if they had supporters like mine following them virtually and freaking out from home, they didn’t disappoint.

Lesson: Inspiration is around us every day. Take time to reflect, acknowledge, and follow. It may lead you to many firsts of your own.

Crossing the start line in Des Moines…26.2 down, 13.1 to go
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A Publix Hug

This weekend has had some pretty cool moments:

  • Friday: A couple of hours at an elementary school celebrating the first quarter results of student’s and teacher’s hard work
  • Yesterday: A couple of hours celebrating the 86-year life of a church member
  • Today: A couple of hours praying with, singing alongside of, and listening to the body of Christ

As good as those hours were, the coolest moment lasted probably less than a minute. And of all places, in a Publix parking lot.

As I walked to my car, I thought I recognized the boy getting out of the car parked beside mine. I was pretty sure he was one of the students from the celebration I attended at the school on Friday where he was recognized for making the Principal’s list and also won a drawing for a new bike and helmet.

I decided not to just wonder and move on, so I said to his dad,Excuse me. Does your son go to Ballard Elementary?”

“Yes.”

“Did he make the Principal’s list and win a bike on Friday and had on a yellow outfit?”


“Yes.”

“I thought that was you.”

“Yeah, what a shock to see him come out of school with a bike.”

To this point his son hadn’t said a word. In fact, he never did. He did something better. When he recognized me, he walked straight to me and gave me a hug.

This isn’t the first time this school year that a Ballad student has spontaneously given me a hug. These Ballard kids get it. They don’t make big scenes. They respond genuinely, with no fear, showing all their thankful, grateful, and humble heart.

I’m working on being more like them. A Publix hug certainly jolts the motivation and inspiration.

Dairy Farm Inspiration

“Have you ever stuck your hand up a cow’s butt?”

Not a question meant for you, really. It’s a question asked by someone on TV.

I just watched an episode of Undercover Boss from 2013 where Menchie’s frozen yogurt franchise CEO Amit Kleinberger went undercover at a dairy farm and a kids birthday party to assess his company. In his work at the dairy farm, Amit met Francisco. Francisco asked Amit that question. By the end of that day at the dairy farm, Amit had a new perspective about his company, and probably about life. What Amit saw in Francisco was a passionate employee. Francisco cares about his cows. “I love these cows. I love my job.” Amit later told Francisco that he left inspired that day. 

So why would a CEO be inspired at the dairy farm? One reason was he was able to help Francisco bring a new calf to the world. Another first for Amit. Francisco let Amit name the calf; he named him Alan. That was a memorable moment, yes. But what inspired Amit was the attitude, perspective, and focus of Francisco. The way he talked about the cows, the purpose he shared about his job, and the model he hoped to show his children inspired Amit.

How we do what we do should inspire others. It’s biblical. We are to mirror the image of God in how we do work. You may think, “But I don’t like what I do. I’d rather be doing….” So why aren’t you? Is it possible God wants to help you but you’re not letting him? How can you follow his plan for you?

You may also think, “I’m doing what I’m meant to do, but I’ve lost the joy, the passion. I’m probably not inspiring anyone.” So where did the passion go? What caused you to lose it? What would it feel like to restore it? Are you willing to do the restoration work?

Maybe we all could use a trip to the dairy farm. And stick our hands where they’ve never been before. Ready?