Monthly Archives: September 2010

Small Town Inspiration Brings Big Time Results

I recently made a trip to a little community that is making big changes in the lives of its citizens. That place is Pinckneyville, IL, and my time there confirmed to me that when a small group of people commits to making a difference, it will happen! It’s happening in their little corner of the world, that’s for sure.

I was invited to speak at the “Inspire Conference” held on August 26. I really had no expectations of what I would find at the end of my 90-minute long drive from the airport through the rural roads.

What I ended up finding in this little town of around 5,000 is that inspiration and motivation are everywhere. This was a tight-knit community that is making big changes in its commitment to good health and active lives.

Leading the charge is Sara Tanner, who was the conference coordinator. She is an incredible source of inspiration—not just for those in this little Southern Illinois town—but to me personally. Sara lost more than 110 pounds over five years ago and has done a remarkable job at keeping it off. She operates Motivation Fitness and conducts a variety of classes from “Zumba” to “Hoops” (hula hoping for fitness) to inspire people to get healthy.

I also met David Belcher, Lifestyle Editor, for the Mount Vernon Sentinel. David presented me with a bound folder of wonderfully written newspaper articles chronicling his self-described “massive weight loss project.” Since January he has lost 75 pounds with the determination to lose 110 more! It didn’t take five minutes with David before I was convinced that he will absolutely achieve his goal and will inspire numerous others through his journey.

I was brought in to “be the inspiration” and in turn, I myself was inspired. Pinckneyville is a lovely place. But it is self-proclaimed to be a small town with the closest “big city” resources being well over an hour’s drive away. Some would think this justifies a “can’t do it” attitude. But that was far from what I found to be true.

I wanted to share my experience in Pinckneyville with you first to commend them for their efforts in putting an end to excuses and changing the mindset and the quality of life in a community! And secondly to say, no matter what your resources—whether big or small—you can make a difference wherever you are. So start today.


“He Is With You”…inspiration from Mandisa

Sometimes there are celebrities—people with a public persona—that we just connect with. Whether it’s the admiration we feel for them and their talent or it’s the similarities we feel we share with them, there’s no doubt that we all have our favorites.

Mandisa Huntley (or just Mandisa) is one of mine. I watched as she graced the American Idol stage a few years back.  And when I finally got the chance to actually meet her and get to know her, I can honestly say she is even more wonderful in person.  She is a real, authentic, lovely woman of God.  My respect for her is through the roof!

But actually I am not writing to sings the praises of Mandisa (right now – that may come in a later blog), but rather to share the lyrics of a song she released on her album Freedom. It’s called “He Is With You.”

When I hear it, I can hardly stay seated because it illuminates all the things that God is. The music is driving and powerful and brings out an excitement and a confidence in my own faith!

As the song begins, “There’s a time to live and a time to die; there’s a time to laugh and a time to cry,” it clearly mirrors the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12). But it goes even farther than that by painting a picture of almost any imaginable scenario in which He (God) is with you.

I would encourage you to visit her website or listen to the song on YouTube and truly let the reality of it sink in. There is nothing in this world that God will not see you through. In the scripture, Isaiah 41:10, God says, “Do not be afraid for I am with you…I will strengthen and help you.”

It doesn’t matter what your struggle is: if you need to loose 10 pounds or 100 pounds; He is with you. If your health is wrecked; He is with you. If you are in financial crisis; He is with you. Call on the power of God and take Him at His word.

Do what I do, when you feel your worst, wrap yourself in the reality that you have a God who loves you just exactly as you are. And remember He Is With You.