Thank You For The Best Year of My Life

31st of December, 2013

God,

When I think about the year 2013 I can’t help but to say think you. I spent the beginning of 2013 in Nigeria, spending time with the woman of my dreams, a woman who I would soon propose and later celebrate with amongst 2000 friends, villagers and voyagers in Nigeria. I came back to the US only to have the opportunity to speak in front of 1000 of my peers, encouraging them that our time is now. Soon thereafter I started a voyage at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. A voyage in which I met some of the COOLEST, most diverse people in the entire world.. Well basically the entire world was on campus. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love other cultures. I made friends from France, Germany, Kuwait, Ghana, Morocco, Sudan, Kenya, Iran, India, China, Trinidad and Chile. These people taught me so much about what it means to live with a global mindset. They broadened my world view.

Soon thereafter I got a chance to meet and connect with people who would change the course of my life. As a matter of fact, these guys inspired me to create this very blog you’re reading. I met men that believed in me, challenged me, rejoiced with me, and pushed me to newer heights; even greater challenges. That was nothing but God.

At the same time, this year posed some challenges, with a broken fibula being at the forefront. You’ve read enough about my injury, but what you haven’t read about is the amount of joy I’ve found despite it. I got a chance to spend time at schools, homeless shelters, state fairs, hospitals, and mentorship centers. I got a chance to get to know the city that I’ve spend the last 3 years in. I got a chance to see the people who keep the world spinning. I GOT A CHANCE to live and to love, to laugh and to cry, to crutch and to scoot, all around Phoenix. And I couldn’t have been happier. AND I got a chance to document all of it thanks to my friends at Channel 12 who believed in me enough to give me a chance.

But what I’ll remember the most in 2012 are the people I met and the friends I made. Callixta, Barry, Christine, Gbemi, Deanne, Dayvisson, Patricia, Carissa, Max, Brittany, Mary, Jasmine, Mike, Jeff, Coop, Ben, Patti, T Money, Caleb, Avery, Justin, YB, Los, Zo, JB, JB, the other JB, Carson, Drew, Jose, Ale, Lukas, Earl, Jessica, Cassie (the glue), Scott, Jill, Tram, Caribe, Jordin, Coop, Jason, Brian, Brian, Oye, Crae, T-da, Andy, D Minor, Andy, Andy, Jackie, Liz, Lea, Greg, BA, themanacho, Reech, OBIM, Chef, Tim, Karina, Johnny, Criselda, Dave, Jayna, Cody, Ben, Noelle, Dallas, Tillie, Mikey, Brog, Ra, 5’10”, 5’11”, Jami, Anna Montana, Jeff Jacket, Octavia, Benson, Madelyn, Bruna, C Cam, Jared, Sev, Fisch, Jakey, Elijah, Steph, Hayden, Victory, Nkem, Corinna, Analina, Gretchen, Bri, Chacha, Natalia, Marion, Darlene, J leezy, Christina, Matt, Evan, Amara, Gabe, Alva Khai, Mr. Josh Reibock, Pres. Billy Jeff, Mom, Dad, Pete, Rob, Rocio, Randi, Akanksha, Kulnuttha, Cheeks, Cuppy, Destinee, Sam, Rich, JC, KB, Adam, and EVERYONE else who I did not mention, THANK YOU for a great 2013.

God, thanks for putting these wonderful people in my life. This year was better than I could have ever imagined, and I pray that I can trust you even more for the year ahead.
In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen.

My PhoenixONE Story

30th of December, 2013

Have you ever been a part of something awesome? I mean like truly awesome—something so cool that it starts redefining what “cool” is. Well, I get a chance to be a part of this every first and third Tuesday night at PhoenixONE.

I first heard about PhoenixONE at a different young adults ministry which I thought was awesome. As they put it, “PhoenixONE is like this gathering… But on steroids!” I knew I had to check it out. I went a few weeks later and was blown away by the passion, fun, and authenticity that PhoenixONE brought to the table.

After that trip I was hooked. So hooked, in fact, that I asked if I could support in some way. Thankfully, they let me. PhoenixONE gave me an opportunity to share my passion with the people I love. PhoenixONE allowed me to sing as loud as I wanted with 800 other people my age.

PhoenixONE allowed me to sit in silence for an entire hour, something that I don’t think I’ve ever done before. PhoenixONE allowed me to find “community”—or as I like to call it, to make friends. PhoenixONE helped me get plugged into a church which fit me well, while also giving me an opportunity to spend time with hundreds of other people my age who, like me, are just trying to figure it out. PhoenixONE is shaping my young adult life, and I’m very grateful for that.

But PhoenixONE needs help. Just like we need PhoenixONE, PhoenixONE needs us. In order to continue to make cool things happen, they need our support and our money. So if you’ve been impacted by PhoenixONE, please join me in donating to keep PhoenixONE up and running. Giving helps PhoenixONE and it helps us practice generosity in a society full of selfishness. Anything helps.

Finally, share your own PhoenixONE story. I want to hear how it has impacted you. After you donate, of course. :)

Taking Time

20th of December, 2013

So, without getting into too much detail, my mom had a pretty serious surgery earlier this week. She is a nurse practitioner, so she frequents hospitals. But this was her first time actually being a patient in a hospital in 23 years. It was very odd seeing her receive care rather than giving it. To be quite honest, this situation was eerily similar to my From Field to Fan incident. We prayed, we believed, we gave God glory, and He came through in the clutch like He always does. One lesson I learned through this ordeal is that God’s plan really is better than our plan, but that I need to TRUST in His plan even when things look grim.

Another lesson I’ve learned through this hospital stay with my mom is how to suffer with those who are suffering.

Throughout my stay with my mom in the hospital, I saw people come in and out, sit down and send flowers, text and talk. But what stood out to me—and to my mom—the most were those who stayed and listened. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a knock on sending flowers to those who are sick, but there is something special about just sitting down with someone who is suffering. No agenda, no moral obligation, just plain spending time. That time spent together meant the world to my mom, and to me.

There is a tradition in Jewish culture that emulates this very well. Sitting shiva is a week long period in which friends and family sit and mourn with those who have just lost a loved one. Very few words are exchanged. But much time is spent. And this time speaks volumes to those suffering.

Time is quite possibly our most valuable asset. When we spend it with others in their time of need, lives are changed and love is spread. Make sure to spend some time with those in your life who are hurting, and don’t be afraid to sit shiva with them. You will be shocked by the results.

Oh by the way, my mom wore her LFG shirt into surgery too!

#LFG

Help Me Build a Hospital in Nigeria

12th of December, 2013

One of my biggest passions in life is to give back to the people of Nigeria. My parents were born and raised in the country, and as a family we return every year as part of medical missions trips through Living Hope Ministries.

But there is an urgent need for ongoing medical care in the remote part of Nigeria where we serve. The people in this village need a hospital they can go to, without waiting for another group to arrive. Because of this need I’m working with LHM to raise $2 million to build a hospital that will provide ongoing medical care for these people I’ve come to know and love.

In addition to the annual Hope for Life Celebrity Auction and Fashion Show that I host in the Phoenix area to raise money for the cause, I would like to invite you to join us in this story of hope by helping to make the Living Hope Clinic a reality for those in need.

You can make your tax-deductible donation to the hospital fund through Living Hope Ministries here.  

Thank you!

Fight On Nelson

5th of December, 2013

Few people have the capacity to change the world. Even fewer have the desire. Fewer still are willing to sacrifice their lives for their beliefs. Nelson Mandela had and did all of these things. He was an ordinary man, with extraordinary impact. This impact started from the day he was born.

Nelson Mandela is an inspiration to many, including me. He was tired of seeing his people oppressed, so he spoke up for them. He spoke up for those who could not speak for themselves. He fought for those who could not fight for themselves. He spent 27 years in prison for a people he deeply loved. Four years after his release from prison he was elected as President of South Africa. The first black President of a nation that had been stifled by racial inequality.

See, Mandela knew what he was fighting for. He knew who he was fighting for. He was fighting for his people, he was fighting for his nation, he was fighting for his love. Fight on Nelson. Thank you for paving the way for people like me to fight.

#LFG

Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer, and You

4th of December, 2013

I’ve already written about the celebrities who will be auctioning off exclusive experiences at my big party next Monday night to raise money for a hospital in Nigeria, and I’ve extended my personal invitation for you to get in on the fun. Now I want to share a few extra details about two of the auction packages I’m most excited about.

At the auction, you’ll have two chances to bid on experiences that will take place at the LPGA Founders Cup Pro-am in Scottsdale on March 19, 2014.

One winning bidder, along with two friends, will join Larry Fitzgerald and Nicole Castrale as a team competing in the Pro-am. Another winning bidder, again with two friends, will join Carson Palmer and two LPGA golfers to be named later (who will each play nine holes with your team).

As if those opportunities weren’t enough already, check out all of this fun stuff that will be included with both experiences:

  • Four (4) commemorative tee gift package
  • Four (4) Invitations for two (2) to the Tuesday of Tournament Week Pairings Party and Wednesday of Tournament Week Kick-Off Reception following completion of Pro-Am play
  • Forty (40) Good Any Day Tickets, allowing access to the Tournament grounds and public access areas (valid any one day Tuesday – Sunday of Tournament Week)
  • Four (4) Founders Club tickets for admission to an open-air hospitality area located near the 18th green on Tournament Site (valid Thursday – Sunday of Tournament Week), which includes complimentary food and beverage
  • Four (4) sponsor parking pass, valet service included, valid during Tournament Week, Tuesday – Sunday.

Once again, the full list of celebrity auction experiences is here, and you can register now through Eventbrite. Don’t miss out!

#LFG