Go boldly where no man has gone before for God

My advice to beginning writers is the same as ever : Never Give Up! This devo may inspire you to keep on trying even when it seems like a hopeless cause.

Photo by Dave Reusser

Photo by Dave Reusser

In the 1960s the television program Star Trek used as part of its introduction to each show the phrase “to boldly go where no man has gone before”. It referred to the mission of the starship Enterprise and was read by actor William Shatner at the beginning of nearly every episode of Star Trek.

 

For years audiences sat before their TV sets, watching the exciting, new adventures that lay in wait for the unsuspecting crew.

 

Have you considered that God may want you to be like the Enterprise crew? He may want you to “go where no man has gone before” and be willing to stretch your limits to accomplish His will.

 

What does it mean to “go where no man has gone before” for God? For most people it doesn’t mean exploring outer space, but God may have us go out in three areas.

 

1)  The Unknown.

The Bible is full of examples of people who ventured into the unknown at God’s leading. One example is Rahab, a harlot, helped foreign spies take over her city (Joshua 2). She escaped with the spies and began a new life with people who believed not in idols but in the one true God. Despite the fear she would be ostracized by the Israelites for her former way of life, Rahab chose to obey God which earned her a rank in the lineage of Jesus Christ. Rahab was what we might call a “baby Christian”, but she heeded God’s call to venture into the Unknown.

 

Photo by Dave Reusser

Photo by Dave Reusser

2) Do the impossible.

When Abraham was 100 years old, heavenly visitors told him he would be the father of a great nation. Abraham didn’t believe the message. Sarah, his wife, was 90 years old. She had never conceived and was considered beyond childbearing. Yet, within a year of God’s statement, events happened as the messengers had said (Hebrews 11:11-12).

 

Jesus taught this concept of believing that God could accomplish the impossible to his disciples. One day, a man with a son who was filled with an evil spirit asked for help in getting rid of the spirit. The disciples tried to cast out the demon, but couldn’t. Jesus said, “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23), then cast out the spirit.

 

When Satan uses barriers to threaten your confidence, recall the Apostle Paul’s words, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13)

3) Give 100 percent effort.

It is hard to comprehend God’s plans when He asks us to give up something – a business, career, security. We may never see the end result of our act of obedience. Abraham never saw the great nation of which God had promised he would be the father. Yet he put all of his effort and might to the task at hand of obeying God. The Bible says trusting God with no end in sight is the mark of true faith. Such acts stretch our faith and perseverance as none other. (Hebrews 11:39-40)

 

Photo by Dave Reusser

Photo by Dave Reusser

Sometimes following God doesn’t appear to make sense or even like a bad idea. Keep praying for God’s guidance. If it seems like it is within His will, go for it!

What do you say to yourself and others to inspire them to keep trying?

The End

 

Harlem Globetrotter ‘Handles’ Franklin Interview

While on assignment for the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel newspaper recently I had the opportunity to interview Harlem Globetrotter ‘Handles’ Franklin. The Globetrotters were in Fort Wayne to play at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

To say Mr Franklin values education would be an understatement. Read to discover how much this athlete cares about kids.

**

Harlem Globetrotter ‘Handles’ Franklin has earned a Masters degree in Social Work

 “When I was a kid in the 1970s, I watched the Harlem Globetrotters and Scooby Doo cartoons,” said Chris “Handles” Franklin. “My goal in growing up was to either play basketball or be a crime fighter.”

Franklin saw his dream come true in 2007 when he became a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, the 85-year world-famous, fun-loving basketball team known for such talented ball players in the past as Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal.

Don’t mistake the Globetrotters as static, just because they as a group have nearly reached the century-old mark. “We are continually re-inventing ourselves,” said Franklin. “Years ago we popularized the slam dunk shot and 3-man weave. Now we’re bringing in the 4-point shot. It’s 12 feet farther away from the basket than the NBA’s 3-pointer. It’s never been done before but the Globetrotters are known for making long shots. We’re adding a new dimension and hoping it could catch on.”

Harlem Globetrotters

Athletic skill is not the only thing the Globetrotters want to be known for. One program they have implemented to re-enforce to kids a productive lifestyle is a program they call “CHEER”. This stands for cooperation, healthy mind and body, enthusiasm, effort and responsibility. “When we speak at schools, we tell kids how they can develop these characteristics and why they should listen to their parents and teachers about staying away from drugs and earning an education,” said Franklin.

“As a kid, I thought that kind of talk was wrong, but it was the most valuable advice they could have offered me. With my Masters degree I have an education to fall back on.”

The 6-1, 175 lb. guard of the famous basketball group was raised in a family from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that stressed community involvement. “My dad was a policeman and my mother worked in a hospital,” he said. “They taught my brother and me to be involved with people and to value our education.”

After high school, Franklin attended Lock Haven University (Pa.) where he majored in social work. He later earned a Master’s degree in the same field.

As an undergraduate student Franklin played basketball, becoming the school’s second all-time assist leader, along with ranking in the top 10 in the nation in assists and steals. In talking to him you sense he is more thrilled with the way his education, not his ability to handle a ball, has benefitted him.

“The great thing about being a Globetrotter is that not only do we have to be good basketball players but good role models,” he said from his hotel room while on tour with the Globetrotters in Kentucky. “We are good will ambassadors, especially for education. All of us Globetrotters have been to college and a high percentage of us have degrees. We strive for excellence and education.”

Franklin’s passion about education carries through to another subject. “I tell kids to  believe in themselves and what they want out of life,” he said. “No matter what anyone says, they should strive to achieve what they want. In my life people said I could not be a Globetrotter. But with hard work and persistence I did it. That determination was instrumental in making me who I am today.”

After graduating from college, Franklin sent audition tapes to the Globetrotters. As he tells it, they were not completely interested.

“I didn’t get in right away,” he said. That didn’t faze Franklin who made a name for himself with Nike freestyle ads as the world’s best ball handler. Finally, after much persistence and patience, Franklin was selected as a member of the team. ‘Sometimes you have to be creative and come up with ways to show your desire to excel,” he said.

Just as at every point in the team’s 85-year history, the Globetrotters’ approach to entertaining people transcends nearly every obstacle. “We have the ability to emotionally connect with every person,” said Franklin. “They don’t have to be into sports. We speak a universal language which crosses age, gender, race, culture and language barriers. That message is that you can have wholesome fun at an athletic event. If we can teach something valuable to kids at the same time, it makes it all worthwhile.”

The End

Originally published at www.news-sentinel.com

Hollywood’s busiest actress–Selena Gomez

 

The book Selena Gomez contains 5 chapters and 32 pages

As a young child, Selena Gomez wanted to be an actress. But she lived in a small Texas town. Her parents were divorced. Money was tight.

Selena didn’t let those obstacles stop her. On her seventh birthday, she auditioned for and received a part on Barney & Friends. A few years later, Selena won a role as Mikayla on the popular Miley Cyrus show, Hannah Montana. Selena liked acting and worked hard to improve her skills. During the next few years, she appeared in many TV and movie roles. Finally, Selena was offered the chance to star in her own show.

Selena Gomez, star of Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place, evolved from being an unknown girl to one of today’s busiest actors, as well as the recipient of Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Award for Favorite TV Actress.

This text from p. 1 of my biographical book on Selena Gomez introduces us to Selena’s ambition, even at the age of seven. The book is targeted for students in Grades 1-3. If you can’t find the book in your school or public library, ask your librarian to contact me at this website to order one. They are also available from Amazon and the publisher.

**

Caralyne, a 6th grader, did a Youtube book report on the book, Selena Gomez

Chapter 1         Audition for Barney

Selena Gomez didn’t think about the people watching her from behind the camera. She forgot about the hundreds of other children waiting to audition (aw-DIH-shun) as a child actor on the program Barney & Friends. Instead, she focused on singing, dancing, and smiling.

Selena, 7, and her mother had driven to Dallas, Texas, from their nearby home in Grand Prairie, Texas, for the audition. “I want to be an actress,” Selena had told her mother. Trying out for a part on Barney & Friends, she believed, would help her reach that goal.

One thousand four hundred children showed up for the audition. At the end of the day, the people who produced the show chose Selena for the part!

Chris Reusser–flying $7m aircraft by remote control


My son, Christopher, was home for Thanksgiving. During his visit, he spoke to 250 people at Bluffton Middle School, including the entire 7th and 8th grades, about his career as a pilot with the Air Force. Chris is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and a First Lieutenant. Currently, he flies remotely powered aircraft (RPAs) called Predators. He is stationed in LV but his planes are in Afghanistan. Wow!     

Reapers are larger than Predators; he may fly Reapers someday.

I was proud of him during his hour-long talk. He did a good job of keeping the attention of the students and taking a complex subject such as flying a $7 million aircraft and putting it in terms they could understand.


Students listen as 1st Lieutenant Chris Reusser describes flying by remote control

The following article is one I wrote about Chris’ decision to become a pilot. It was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul… Teens Talk about Getting into College.

My advice to every student: Dream big!

**

Endings and Beginnings

The night my son Christopher said, “Mom, I want to apply to the Air Force Academy,” is etched in my memory. Chris was a freshman in high school and an active member of Civil Air Patrol (CAP). The CAP senior commander’s son had attended the Air Force Academy (AFA) and the commander had encouraged the cadets to think about it.              

It seemed like an impossible goal. We were a Midwestern family with no significant military influence. But my husband, John, had been in the Air Force and had shared his admiration for that military branch and general aviation with Chris. We were determined to help Chris succeed.

We began researching the lengthy academy application process and what the commitment to join the military would mean. Chris didn’t seem intimidated by the stringent requirements, such as survival training during boot camp. He continued to attend CAP camps and meetings, as well as speaking opportunities to talk about his role as Cadet Commander of CAP. He was also involved in school sporting events, club competitions, and church youth events. These would all be looked at favorably when listed as activities on his AFA application.

Often Chris was busy every night of the week. Through discipline and good study habits he maintained high grades, held high leadership positions and stayed active in multiple school and church activities.

Chris finished the lengthy application process in the fall of his senior year of high school and submitted the paperwork. His Congressional interviews were scheduled for early December. Every cadet has to be nominated by a member of Congress, the President or Vice-President of the United States, to be considered for an academy. We believed Chris’ years of interaction with CAP senior members (adults) had prepared him well for the poise and quick-thinking skills he would need for the interviews. The liaison officer had said the letter of acceptance or denial from the Academy would probably come in January. 

The liaison officer also mentioned that a Letter of Assurance (LOA) was sometimes issued from the Academy. It was the academy’s notification to a cadet that the AFA wanted him or her as a cadet if the Congressional nomination comes through. Most cadets apply to more than one academy to increase their chances of acceptance (Chris applied to three). However, these LOAs were rarely issued, the liaison officer said, so we should not expect one.

Instead, we placed our prayers on the upcoming Congressional interviews.

Then, one day in mid-November, an envelope addressed to Chris came from the AFA. Chris had a basketball game that night so John and I knew it would be late before he arrived home. To be honest, we thought about steaming open the letter before Chris returned, but didn’t.

When Chris opened the letter, hours later, it was what we had hoped — a Letter of Assurance from the AFA! They wanted Chris for the Class of 2007!

The three of us and our younger daughter, Lindsay, whooped and hugged for several minutes. Then we called our college-age daughter and told her the good news. The whooping began all over again! 

When John, Chris and Lindsay went into the kitchen for a drink, I stayed in the recliner, rubbing my hand over its soft surface, needing something familiar to stabilize my thoughts and emotions, tripping over each other in wild succession.

On one hand, I was happy knowing the months of waiting were over. Chris had been one of 1,200 chosen among 12,000 applicants to attend one of the finest colleges in the country. He would meet people from all over the world, learn discipline, independence – and hopefully how to pick up his clothes.

On the other hand, in a few months Chris would move across the country, never to return. It would be the end of an era in our family. I held back my tears until later when alone in my bedroom. It wouldn’t do to spoil the party.

Chris did receive his congressional nomination and chose to attend the AFA. The day he and all of the other cadets reported for Processing Day at the beautiful AFA grounds in Colorado Springs was a confusing, emotional time. When the new recruits were told to go upstairs for more processing, everyone knew that was good-bye.

The literature we had received from the Academy advised parents to hold back the tears when saying good-bye. “It is hard on your child to have this last view of you in their memory,” the book stated.

So I forced on a big smile while John snapped a photo of Chris and me. A quick exchange of tight hugs and he was gone.

Our next view of Chris was the following morning when the 1,200 new cadets, smartly outfitted in matching crew cuts, t-shirts and blue pants, stood at attention on the piazza. We tried to find Chris, but it was impossible.   

My tears flowed then and several times during the next several months. The few times we heard from him he was busy and working hard but glad to be there. That made our separation then and over the next four years easier to bear.

Chris came home twice a year during the next four years — at Christmas and in the summer for two weeks. Each time I could see changes from the little boy I had raised to a young man — a straightening of the shoulders, good eating and exercise habits, an ease in greeting and talking with people.

In June 2007 Chris graduated from the AFA and was promoted to Second Lieutenant in the Air Force. In 2009 he achieved a lifelong dream when he received his wings as a US Air Force pilot.

Chris Reusser standing beside a Reaper

At times we still can’t believe it happened. Our son found the courage and determination to apply for and graduate from one of the finest colleges in the nation. He now has his eyes on guiding unmanned aerial aircraft across the Middle East as a pilot of a Predator. He would like to someday fly in a fighter. I have no doubt if he uses the same courage and determination he has exhibited in the past he can reach any goal.

The End

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Speaking at Allen County Public Library

 

Speaking to adults & children at ACPL

On June 3, 2010, I spoke to a group of homeschoolers at the Allen County Public Library in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. This lovely facility has been a favorite of mine since it opened in 2007. It is spacious, aesthetically appealing with a great hall that reminds one of the dining hall in Harry Potter movies. Of course, the resources available there are outstanding as well. I’ve written many articles and books using their materials.

My 45-minute talk focused on the importance of dreaming to see your goals in life achieved. I led them through a brief exercise to help them understand the concept of dreaming, which should be done daily for maximum effect.

Cathy Lambert, Young Adult Librarian at Allen County Public Library, had this to say about my remarks to the group:

“Kayleen Reusser’s talk was very inspiring. As I watched the faces of those in attendance (22 in all, from toddler to older adults) I could tell she related well to all ages. Aside from the specific information she gave about the writing/getting published process, I found Ms. Reusser to be an excellent motivational speaker. I know this both from feedback and for myself personally… Ms. Reusser is a great example of a person who has set a goal and taken steps to achieve it. She needs to keep telling her story! We plan to have her return to discuss future books.”

If your library or school or other group would be interested in having me come to speak, please contact me at wwwkjreusser@xxxadamswells.com (remove the xxx’s). Details about my fees for speaking can be on the “Speaking” page.

Have a terrific day! You’re special. Believe that. I do.

If you’d like to contact the ACPL here is their address:

200 E. Berry St.
Fort Wayne, IN  46801
260.421.1200 ext 2452

http://www.acpl.lib.in.us/

Speaking in Las Vegas

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Last month I had the privilege of speaking at the Aliante Public Library in North Las Vegas, Nevada. My audience was a group of children ages preschool through adult.  One little precious darling walked in and asked, “Is Selena Gomez going to be here?”

I had to disappoint her and say no, there was just a book about her. She looked like she might cry, but she didn’t. She and the others listened well as I talked to them about writing my nine books.

An extra plus was my son, whom I was visiting that week, agreed to go with me. Even better, he wore his flight suit. Christopher is a First Lieutenant in the Air Force. He’s also a pilot and stationed at Creech Air Force Base. There he flies planes by remote control over Afghanistan and other countries around Afghanistan. It’s all very complicated, but he’s catching on and making us proud. 

Anyway, Chris not only served as my chauffeur that week, he was a live model for my talk. The kids seemed awed by his flight suit. I told the kids they should dream about what they wanted to be when they grew up. That’s what the three young ladies I’ve written biographies on — Taylor Swift, Leona Lewis, Selena Gomez — all did and still do. They all wanted to sing (yeah, Selena wanted to act first but she’s known as a singer, too). Then I walked them through a 1 minute exercise in how to practice dreaming. It was fun and I think they enjoyed our time together.

We chatted with all of them before and after the meeting and it was a joy meeting so many readers interested in reading biographies. Afterward, we had a book signing. Here are some photos of the event.

Donna Stephenson, Children’s Library Assistant at Aliante Library, sat in on our talk. She had these comments about the event, which she emailed to me later: “You provided a wonderful program for our youth. I really appreciated the way you tied the subjects of your writing to the children’s lives (current movies, songs, etc.). I also liked the way you talked about how all of the ladies you wrote about were dreamers. I think it is important for the kids to see how they can be like people they see on TV just by going for their dreams. I liked that you allowed them to share their dreams with the group and also that they got a chance to play the guitar. You gave them more than just a speech, it was an experience they will remember.”

If you need help dreaming about what you want to be when you grow up, read these books about Taylor Swift, Leona Lewis, Selena Gomez. Ask your local librarian to order them if you can’t find them at your library.  I’m sure they will provide inspiration for you!

Have a nice day!

Speaking to students at Wells County Public Library

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Recently I had the opportunity to speak to students who are members of the Wells County Public Library’s Junior Library (JL) Crew. It was snowing outside, but inside we were sharing thoughts about writing, Taylor Swift, and dreaming about what we’d like to be.

Using my biography on Taylor Swift, I talked to the kids about how dreaming could help them get through rough points in life. Every child needs a dream, something to look forward to in life, something exciting they want to do as a career when they grow up.

If you don’t have a dream like that, you can start one today! There’s lots of benefits. Dreaming helps keep you focused on doing well in school; which friends to hang out with; and what to do in your spare time. You can’t mess up too often, or your dream will go down the drain — or at least get clogged halfway down the drain.

The kids at this library were attentive and full of questions. It was a great 45 minutes. I admit, I prayed for all of them to get home safely, due to the snow (I think they must have because I saw them all at school the next day).

I enjoy speaking to students in elementary and middle school Grades about writing. Ask your local library to schedule me for a book talk. You can contact me at kjreusser@adamswells.com.

After you’ve read these books on Taylor Swift, Leona Lewis, and Selena Gomez, take a few minutes to dream. You’ll be glad you did!

You’re special. Always remember that.

Take care,