POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

The Works of Candice Millard

Over the years I have grown to appreciate reading history from various eras and epochs. I have deeply enjoyed the works of Roger Crowley and his treatment of the Mediterranean world in the middle ages. I have loved the American narrative history of David McCullough. The telling of the stories of various spies is in World War II by Ben McIntyre have fascinated and the historical intrigue of the works of Erik Larson I have found thrilling. Over the last few years I have grown a deep appreciation for another historical author and her works. Namely, Candice Millard.

The first book I read from her was entitled "Destiny of the Republic" and is a wonderful look at the life, assassination and medical treatment of President James A. Garfield. She introduced me to a time in history I knew little about and a president whose tenure was shortened by a bullet, or more accurately, an infection from a minor bullet wound. She also featured the technological innovations of Alexander Graham Bell and how certain technologies and medical knowledge could have easily saved this president if just a few years later in history. Recently, I took up her new work on the young years of one Winston Churchill

Her newest book entitled "Hero of the Empire" features happenings leading up to and during the Boer Wars between the British Empire and various republics in South Africa. I learned much about young Churchill, how leaders are formed and shaped as well as some early history and precursors to one of the more racist regimes in world history. 

I cannot recommend the works of Millard enough and all three of her published books get two thumbs up from me. Enjoy any of the following...

The River of Doubt - Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

The River of Doubt - Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

Destiny of the Republic - A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

Destiny of the Republic - A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

Hero of the Empire - The Boer War, a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill

Hero of the Empire - The Boer War, a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill


Working the System - Scheduling and Work flow as an Entrepreneur

Over the years I have mainly been involved with start ups. We helped start Athletes in Action ministries at the University of Kentucky and Virginia Tech. We started a college and young adult crew at a growing church, we helped plant churches in New Jersey for almost eight years and today we are in the process of starting a new non-profit ministry.

Working in such settings requires a certain kind of motivation, self-discipline and personal organization. It is easy to be lazy and unorganized or its also easy to work all the time. It requires one to prioritize and schedule one's own work life in a way that is both effective and healthy. In such settings if you don't get things done, nothing gets done. In this brief post I want to share a few things about the way I have developed a system to get things done. Still not sure if I've been highly successful or not, but here is the way I do things. 

Begin with a block schedule 

Block out time each week for the regular tasks, meetings and priorities related to your most central roles. I include things like exercise, devotional time with the Lord as well as things central to your vocation/work. What things are in the must do category each day, each week, each month, each quarter, each year.  Block out and reserve the time. I also think it's wise to include specific blocks for correspondence and any necessary administration. For example, don't do your email all day, block out times when you will (and will not) answer emails. Also remember to block in some margin to do some fun things like watching Premier league soccer games early Saturday mornings. :-) Keep in mind that proverb about "all work and no play" and more importantly God's command for us to rest. Block it all in and this will give you bones for the skeleton of your life and schedule. 

Find a system of triage that works for you

Triage allows an ER doctor to evaluate a patient and make decisions as to how to prioritize her care and attention. If a guy comes in spurting blood at the neck, a good triage system will put that person ahead of the guy with the sniffles. Triage also needs to be applied to the relationships, tasks and opportunities that you wish to make or come your way. In doing effective triage, I do think some sort of quadrant system of important, unimportant, urgent and non-urgent and is helpful. If something is urgent and important, do it now. If important and non-urgent, schedule it. If not important and urgent, run! Just kidding. Lovingly help that bit of urgent on to someone for whom it can be important. Finally, if not important and non-urgent simply say "no" because ignoring it to death may come across rude and uncaring. Saying no quickly helps us all know what to do next. A system of triage helps you sort through tasks, needs, etc. It also gives you a way of thinking and acting to determine if you are the right person to do something.

Place tasks or to dos into your life and schedule

I personally like to put anything I'm going to do in my actual calendar and forgo complex to-do listing. For me, if I cannot determine when something will be done, I'm not sure it's mine to do. Now I will use a whiteboard or a notepad to map out some short-term tasks but these are usually tasks related to things that I have put in my calendar.  Modern calendaring software allows us to schedule both events and the corresponding work for them along with timed reminders. If you love to-do lists by all means go for it. Just make sure things land in your actual life and you triage that list well.

I underestimate my productivity when I calendar things

This may sound strange but this is an important way of doing things for me. What this means is that if something ends up taking me 40 minutes and I have allocated an hour to the task, then I will have time for reflection, minor diversions and a bit of a release from focus. It allows each day to not feel as frenetic in pace. So if I need to do something and I know I can get it done in 50 minutes or so I block off an hour. If I'm not certain how long something will take I block off an hour. I always make time allocations generously but not wastefully. It would be equally unwise to block out an hour for a 10 min task or phone call. Giving myself ample time for my work also makes me feel super victorious on the days where I have high-energy and efficiency and get a whole lot done. 

When calendaring anything count the full cost

Whenever you go about accomplishing anything you have to account for the full amount of necessary time for the task. This means blocking out actual preparation time along with any commitment to a project, person, speaking engagement or group meeting. Scheduling in the time for preparation, prayer and focus helps to see what the actual cost of something is to my life. How much energy, prep and focus do I need to do XYZ and to do it right? This also helps with decision-making as to whether something should be on my plate or not or I should say yes to any invitation or not.

And this may be a little ridiculous...but I also record all my actual time

When I deviate from my schedule and do other things during the day I put in my calendar what I actually did that day.  This helps me reallocate time for things not yet completed as well as to hold myself accountable for what I'm actually doing each day. Furthermore, this practice also allows others (staff, church elders, boards, wives and family) to know what you do with your time. Remember, we are accountable to God and others for how we make use of our days. Additionally, having mysterious "time sinks" in our lives will hinder our effectiveness. Did I also mention that we are to have time in our life for devotion, thinking and exercise and fun? We don't have to be all work and no play to account for our work and play. :-) 

These are just a few principles I use to manage myself day to day in settings where the structure and workflow must come from my own initiative. I'll close with a listing of a few tools I use in my own flow of things.

Tools I use most frequently

Covey's classic work has helped me to try to work within my roles and relationships. Allen's work has helped me triage emails and tasks effectively in order to GTD. Both works I still find helpful for focusing my life and energy. 

I use my google calendar and multiple color coded calendars like a crazy person. My calendar, my kids Futbol travel calendars, practice schedules, even the games of my favorite sports teams all make it in to my week view with special colors. Any modern calendaring system can use shared and online calendars. So whether it's Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal or something else, you can implement this. For mobile, I particular enjoy Readle's Calendars 5 for iOS and an app called Fantastical.

I do use notepads, whiteboards and Evernote to dump and dictate thoughts. I find I think well out loud, so talking and capturing those things with speech to text I find effective although it leads to some typos LOL. Finally, for team work and leadership, collaborative task and communications, applications like Trello and Slack have been helpful of late.  

However you skin the cat of your daily workflow and productivity, I do pray that you find focus to love and serve well with the time you have been given. I hope some of the above may help you along the way as well. 

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Ephesians 5:15, 16

Churches - Make a Web Site and Check it Twice

Just a quick heads up for churches out there. Every so often think about doing a quick audit of your web site. Check it over to see if any information is out of date, if any announcements refer to past events and if any links are broken and no longer work. As much as it is cool to know you had a men's ministry 9 months ago, tell me what's happening now and in the future. Your web site and/or mobile apps are your front door and represents your community. Try to keep it as current, straight and cleaned up as possible. 

As my family has looked around at various churches there are too many that leave up old dates, broken links and inaccurate information on their site. Here's a simple and good practice. At the start of a new ministry or school year, check your pages, update all dates, calendars and schedules and get rid of any old links that don't work. Even leaders can click through their site and make sure things are ship shape. A web site communicates in a myriad of ways. It is a statement of who you are, your flow and its a place to communicate to the public, your visitors and members. 

Give some care to your web site today to show that you do indeed care. A web site that is long in the tooth technologically, not up to date chronologically and neglected regularly conveys something to me. It may not be what you intend to communicate but it can say to the world "we don't really care." 

No webmaster, tech girl or guy at a church is perfect. Stuff can get off point and out of date. Just repent and go make it right. Hit up that CMS today. You know what to do tech-master.

Man Matters

A little over a year ago, I began to process with some friends and mentors the possibility of transitioning out from the church we had planted in New Jersey. Those conversations were littered with questions like, "When is the right time to step away from leadership in a church? "Have I done what I sensed the Lord calling me to do in New Jersey?" "Are things in a position where I can leave things in the capable hands of others?" 

I also asked several brothers what they saw in me in terms of my work and ministry. What are the things they saw as my strengths? What are the things they thought that I must continue to engage in order to be faithful to my calling from God? 

One of these gentleman, my father-in-law, challenged me to continue the work I do with men in and through the local church. He conveyed to me that he felt like I was gifted to communicate to and inspire men towards the Lord and faithfulness in their lives. I simply agreed as I am persuaded that men, particularly young men, need to be engaged with the gospel. Men need to be lovingly encouraged and exhorted to be servant leaders in their homes, in the church and in the city. 

In our day we see plenty of concern for the good work of equality, elevating women and opportunity for all. Yet what is happening among this generation of young men is sobering. I won't go into full detail in this particular blog post, but young men are falling behind and almost every category and attainment. There are fewer male students in college across all groups, fewer men obtaining graduate degrees and many young men lack ambition, confidence and leadership skills to navigate their world. 

Psychologist Guy Zimbardo has infamously argued that there is a demise of guys today where boys are struggling socially and flaming out in school (If you have not seen his TED talk, hit it up, its less than 5 min). Additionally, Samuel D. James recent article America's Lost Boys, highlights the lack of ambition in many men to even work. Rather than pursuing something with their time and gifts, they are filling their time with virtual pursuits of entertainment and sensuality and they are quite happy about it. Literally living the dream off of parents or girlfriend while happily doing a whole lot of nothing. Furthermore, I meet men all the time who feel isolated, discouraged and disconnected from their own hearts and pursuit of God. Guys in our day need to be engaged, inspired and encouraged to be more than passive consumers of amusement and called to impact their world with their gifts, strengths and unique calling as men.

As we invest our lives with Power of Change we hope to impact and influence coming post-Christian generations. This means young men, fathers and those who lead them will be a central part of our focus. Or as I like to say, we desire to serve the three Ps: pastors, parents and church planters

This fall I am doing two men's retreats where my prayer is to call men to servant leadership while encouraging them and exhorting them forward as followers of Christ. Men are in a fight but it is a good fight. God would call us to fight with and for our brothers so that we might stand firm to the end in faithfulness to Jesus and his mission. Man to man we need to be walking together. We need to see older men pointing younger men to the pathways of hard work and faithfulness over time. We need to see younger men inspiring elders with a focus in their passions and zeal. Yet connecting the generations is in no way an easy pursuit. Let me share a quick example.

Photo by Stefano Tinti/iStock / Getty Images

A few weeks back a friend grabbed me after a Sunday worship gathering to talk about his desire to mentor young guys. He also shared some difficulty he has encountered in the past. The young guys are struggling but usually won't ask for someone to mentor them. The older guys feel like nobody really wants to hear from them but they would love to connect with the younger brothers. It's almost a catch-22 of middle school dance proportions. The younger and the older men seem to be standing on the walls on each side of the room knowing they both need to learn to dance. Men must learn to step across the room and tell another guy that you need his wisdom and input. This is particularly important for men who grew up without or are separated from the wisdom of their Dad.

My own hope is to continue to be an influential friend in the journey for other men. To point them to "the man", Jesus of Nazareth, and the joy of following him in their homes, their church and in their city. It is not an easy path today for guys but with other brothers we might find our way forward by faith. I am convinced that the power of change lies within the power of a God who wants to transform men so that they may reflect his goodness and glory. Furthermore, there are some wonderful byproducts of this pursuit. Namely, women will be served and loved and children might flourish under the care of good men. 

The world certainly sees the outcomes of disconnected or abusive masculinity. We have reaped a whirlwind of unguided and unfocused men. The facts of the fatherless are clear and there remain far too many victims of domestic violence. Yet the apostle Paul teaches us something different, "behold I will show you a more excellent way." (1 Corinthians 12:31) We must put before one another the way of love, the way of Jesus and a way in which men use their strength in humility to the glory of God.

That's our story here in our home team family and with Power of Change. We pray that by his power we might be strengthened, protected and kept faithful in and through our work with men. Men matter to God and we want to see them thrive as servant leaders under the headship of Jesus in our day.  We hope many others will work and pray to these same ends.

God himself will...

Life is full of difficulty, pain and suffering. No one is immune to it. Not one exempt. It may seem that he or she has it good, has it better or doesn't have any problems but this is an illusion. Now there are varying degrees of suffering and we don't get to choose our lot and circumstances. So much in our lives comes to us and what matters is how we travel in and through the difficult day as well as the days of sunshine.

I've spent a lot of time in the book of 1 Peter this year and a verse popped up on my watch today that is one of my favorites. Chew on this for a minute. Or as one of my friends likes to say, "marinate on it."

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10, 11

A few things to see here that are treasures and life to the follower of Jesus. First, the duration of our difficulty is "a little while." Now that may mean a few years or a whole lifetime, but nonetheless suffering is not eternal. It is temporary in light of the eternal glories that await us in the Kingdom. Paul said it this way, 

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.

Paul's struggles that were "light" included beatings, shipwreck, prison, snakes biting him, folk throwing rocks at him until they thought he was dead, etc. We need his perspective to know that suffering is only for "a little while." 

The second thing we see is that "God himself" is going to act upon the behalf of his suffering saints when all is said and done. Not just any "god" but our creator, the God of all grace (kindness, love and favor), is the one who will personally restore us. God himself...pause and think about that. Who will ultimately take care of things in the end? Who has your back? God himself has your back. After a life that may seem to be but loss and difficulty there will come a restoration, a confirmation, a strengthening and an eternal establishment. Who will do it? God will. To him be the dominion (in charge, his running my game) forever and ever. Amen!

So no matter if work, school, sport, health, family, friends or politics seems extremely jacked up today we need to know this. God himself...he's on point for his people. He has our back. Run and tell that.

Thoughts on Missional Innovation

Every so often in history leaders, people, ideas and circumstances come together and dramatic changes take place. Ways of living, perspectives on reality and even our understanding of ourselves are profoundly impacted. We call these convergences of people and ideas, "movements." Every movement displays an interconnected nature as certain ideas coalesce into shared passion and joint action for change. Many times movements are marked by innovation, new ways of thinking and acting as human beings. At times innovations are seen as bursting forth out of nowhere, or as sudden awakenings, yet many historical events build successively into movements. The cumulative action of many leaders and ideas evolve forward or build like a wave crashing upon a seashore with powerful momentum. It is often said that today’s leaders stand on the shoulders of giants; we know this to be true. What is prevalent today was influenced by what came before as the interconnected nature of people and ideas moves us in one direction or another. 

Recently I've been thinking much about some the technological movements of the last 100 years and I've read four books to that end. My undergraduate education was in the science and technology space and I’ve enjoy histories in that area of human work and inquiry. The first work was entitled The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gertner which focused on the history of Bell Laboratories and its various communication inventions that led into the modern information revolution. The transistor arguably the most important of the technologies that emerged there in the twentieth century. Next up was When Computing Got Personal: A History of the Desktop Computer by Matthew Nicholson, a work on the history of the desktop computer from it's very earliest forms until some of the recent sizes and shapes we see today. After this came Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet  by Katie Hafner. A fascinating read on the invention of this most important of computer networks through the combined efforts of industry, government and academia. I finally, finished up with Moore's Law: The Life of Gordon Moore, Silicon Valley's Quiet Revolutionary by Thackray, Brock and Jones. Moore is an unassuming titan of what became our modern Silicon Valley and one of the chief inventors of silicon semi-conductor technology. He was one of the founders of what became the tech juggernaut known as Intel. Incidentally, an Intel chip is currently humming along inside my laptop as I type these words.

In my reading I observed that time and time again there was an interconnection between ideas that lead to innovation. Technology built upon the gains of the past and the previous generation’s hard work, problem solving and creative thinking. The innovation that took place in our technological revolutions was not in any way magic. It took place under certain cultural and structural circumstances that made the movement possible. I will outline a few of these in the final section of this essay below. As I looked at technological innovation I also saw much to be gleaned for the innovation needed in gospel mission in every generation.

What I want to do in this essay is to first look at the necessary restrictions and freedoms for innovation to flourish. I will do this under the header Context for Innovation. From there I want to draw some parallels between technological innovation and missional innovation for church planting movements before closing with a reminder of the type of innovation needed in the church in our time. 

Context for Innovation

It may be surprising but some of the modern technology and correlated free-flowing creations were actually driven by some imposed parameters and restrictions. Physicists and engineers are constantly encountering problems that cause them to think outside of the box precisely because they are working within one. What do I mean? Our scientific work does not bend or break the laws of physics. Our work will either conform to or be defeated by them. Reality shapes and constricts our efforts. Innovative thinking comes to bear in trying new ideas as we necessarily stay within the bounds of the created space-time reality. Learning how things actually work and how they work best is essential for our creation and innovation in technology. So the technologist is not some magician pulling a white iPhone out of her hat, but she is learning how things work within the system she has been given. This does not mean she is a traditionalist who only accepts the answers of the past. Yet she must see many past failures and go forward with things that work as she moves towards new solutions to problems in the future. It is not some terrible requirement to have to conform to the laws of Physics; there is no other way to cross technological hurdles. When a technology does not work because we did not understand the nature of reality, we have simply hit a restriction that sends us quite literally back to the drawing board. The restrictions are no enemy. They help us head off in fresh new directions that may prove more fruitful in the end. 

This brings us to a second necessary parameter for innovation to flourish. The technologist must have the freedom to try new things to solve problems. Otherwise we will be stuck in the past's failures or remain content with the status quo. The technologist simply cannot accept a current technical hurdle as the final defeat but must seek new ways to overcome it. This constant tension between the laws of physics and problem-solving creativity creates the spark of movement that can become a stunning wave of innovation. Both the restrictions and the freedom are necessary interlocutors that create momentum. Failures and success both drive forward the wave. 

The same can be said for the work of the church in every generation. First, there must be a firm anchor and reality to which we conform our efforts. This must be the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed to us by God in history and Scripture. Just as creation itself is no hindrance to technology and science, sound doctrine and theology is no hindrance to missional innovation. We must have rails within which we are faithful, otherwise we won't build anything that actually "works." Without the bounds of revealed truth and the historical verities of our faith we can run the mission aground on the rocks of heresy and false teachings. The truth must be the raw materials with which we move forward in mission. Secondly, we must also grasp the freedom necessary to encounter people in every generation with the gospel. We must contextualize the good news of Jesus Christ to a changing world without denying or changing the laws of our theological “physics”. Yet we must have freedom while engaging with our inherited past, to question whether or not certain practices flow from human traditions (Mark 7:13-23) or from the revealed truth of God. This means there is a “faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3), and there are new horizons and new expressions of that faith needed in every generation.

The parallels between technological and missional innovation are not difficult to find. I will close with a look at the process of innovation and its necessary ingredients gleaned from various histories of technology.

Thoughts on Innovation

Innovation comes from passion

Innovation comes from a strong desire to learn and then solve problems. Those who seek new, faithful ways to reach people with the gospel are driven by a similar desire. A desire to engage the problem of a world in need of Jesus and to use all possible, godly means to bring the good news. They are willing to connect with people far from God in various cultural and societal settings because of their love for God and people. It is their passion and love that compels them as they are convinced that Christ died for sinners and communicating this truth is essential. Apologetics and missional thinking help us to overcome the hurdles that prevent thoughtful engagement with people in culture. Missional innovation must be driven by passion: love for God and love for people.

Innovation flows from proper freedom

One of the observations I made in reading about technological innovation is that smart people were given the time, space and funding necessary to do their work. Freedom in research must be funded with exploration and even failure as an aspect of the way forward. In missionary work, space needs to be created in, by and through local churches for similar efforts. Church planting provides the freedom for both faithfulness to gospel truth while engaging in some exploration and experimentation in methodology. Even those who hold to some form of the regulative principle may still maintain space for variation in style within a given culture for gospel life and ministry. Even if you have the conviction that we can only preach, sing psalms, pray and observe the sacraments in a church gathering, how a church goes about such things, language, style, aesthetics, etc. can still be a subject of exploration.  Furthermore, there is a wide open field of ministry through church members, smaller communities, missional groups and parachurch work that can flow with innovation even for highly regulative churches.

Innovation comes from people who dared to try and have some talent

The status quo can trap us. As people, we don't always like change even when change is what we desperately need. There are churches that will demand their own death and extinction rather than change out carpet or switch up musical styles in worship. Church planters are willing to accept the dare of the Holy Spirit to follow Jesus outside of the camp to the lost, beginning new works that might connect the gospel to those far from God and his church. Innovation comes when there are people who take "risks" for the sake of the gospel putting their hearts, souls, mind, strength all in with their God given gifts and talents.  

Finally, innovation comes from systems demanding attention and constant improvement

One of the striking driving forces for technological innovation in the 20th century was the growing complexity of telephone networks. The problems that emerged in expanding and maintaining such a complex network drove innovation because there were so many problems to solve. Necessity, quite literally, was the mother of many inventions. The place where many inventions were made was within the actual telephone system itself. The same might be said of the technology that was invented within the 20th century context of the cold war. There were secret groups of smart, dedicated, well-funded and focused people (see Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed by Ben Rich) meeting serious military problems with life and death implications. Will some Soviet or US military advantage lead to our mutual destruction? Let’s get to work on solving this or that technological hurdle so that no one gets nuked into oblivion. This has striking parallels to our work in church planting. New ideas for the mission must emerge from the necessity of the mission itself. In the middle of the messiness of ministry we must solve problems which arrive from the streams of providence and the shifting of cultures. A world broken with sin and death while facing coming judgment should bring an urgency of action and missional innovation from God’s people.  

Let me conclude with one final thought about "innovation" in and through the church. It is not innovative to simply copy and ape a worldly culture and society. I once heard Nancy Lee DeMoss say that the world is not aching for a "religious version of itself." What did she mean? I think we must see that the lost world around us does not necessarily need a sermon series called "Soulflix" with a perfectly mimicked Netflix logo all the while preaching messages from this or that movie. As fun as this might be, it is neither innovative nor really creative. What we do need are churches that can passionately preach the great gospel truths of the book of Ephesians to people that watch four hours of Netflix a night. That task will require both creativity and innovation in thought. It will require the bounds of the truth and the freedom to innovate in our styles, modes and communication. It will require us to be faithful and daring. It will require prayer and the dynamic leadership of the Holy Spirit in our day. After all, our goal is not simply to innovate in missionary methods for the sake of doing new stuff to make a church seem “cool”. Our goal is to bring people to Jesus through the preaching of the gospel and that means we must care about the methods we use to connect and communicate in THIS or THAT time and place. 

To be grateful...guest post from Kayla Monaghan


To walk you have to take a single step

“Kayla, can you take a look at the stacks of books we are not going to take with us when we move and see if you want to keep any,” my mom called. We were moving in 7 weeks and the floor was littered with pile after pile. I went through a few and found one I used to love when I was little and sat down to read. It is called Polyanna, a story about a girl who learns to play the glad game, finding things to be grateful for, despite her legs becoming paralyzed. Little did I know I would be playing the same game later that night.

It was around 4:30pm that afternoon and there was a crack that echoed through the field. It was my leg, violently smashed by a heavy footed goal keeper. The middle of my leg wobbled and a scream escaped my throat. I knew it was broken. The next twenty-four hours were a blur. I was carted off in an ambulance to the emergency room and then had surgery the next day. It turns out I had my tibia and fibula, the two bones in the lower leg, completely snapped. I found myself playing the glad game the night before surgery with my mom finding all sorts of things to be grateful for.

In the hospital a lot was taken away from me. My spot on the New Jersey state team I had just made, the rest of my final season with my team, and the ability to do just about anything on my own, all gone. Then, my hopes for going to back to school were dashed a week later. I was crushed. I cried and kept asking why? Why me? Why now? Eventually, I realized it wasn't my place to ask those questions. I could only be thankful for what I did have. An ever present God, a strong left leg, a titanium rod in my tibia, amazing people checking in and caring for me, and the best family anyone could ask for made the list in that round of the glad game. I've learned, and still am learning, how to be grateful for everything because nothing belongs to us, not even our bodies. I know I will be back on my own two feet (and a soccer field) as soon as possible. I have found so much, much more than I thought possible, to be grateful for.