Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year

Sandlot Family,


Thank each and everyone of yall for making this past year so very special for my family and all the families The One Project and Sandlot Baseball have been able to touch !!!!! The beginning of 2017 started of pretty rough with my family and the negativity that filled my heart and mind was almost at a breaking point but as usual it was another test . A test to show me that I was getting in my own way, trying to take more control of my own situation rather than allow God to show me my path. Finances were at one point gone , bills had to be paid, food had to be bought and gas needed to be put in the cars . " Life lessons "  - most of yall have heard me talk about that this year and its something God has kept in my mind everyday. What can we learn everyday no matter how big or how small ? What can we do everyday to touch anothers life - everyday ? How do we hear What God is telling us everyday and how do we get out of our own way to hear His will more clearly ?
The end of January 2017 Jordan and I were at Walmart getting our groceries for the week and the lady ringing us up hit the total button. I pulled out our debit card , swiped it and BEEP - not enough funds ! My heart sank , the guilt poured over me as my son looked at me and asked " Dad we are out of money again ? " I can still feel that gut wrenching feeling as I type now , I looked down to him and said " yep buddy " then pushed the bagged food over to the wall and took his hand and started walking to our car . I was angry, frustrated , pissed even and ashamed that this happened and Jordan had to witness it. I explained to him that God takes care of our needs and that things will be ok. He and I talked about it on the way home, we talked about the emotions , what we are doing with The One Project and Sandlot and how it is what God wants us to do . I even asked him if he thought it was worth it - of course my son with a heart larger than himself said yes dad . We had 10 minutes or so to have a " Life Lesson " . We pulled in the driveway and I had so many thoughts running through my mind , I stopped the car short of the house and went to check the mail . One envelope was not a bill or advertisement . It was hand written on the outside and on the inside was a card and inside the card was a check for $275.00 written out to The One Project in memory of Tom Pena ( one of our angels ) . Tears filled my eyes and while I showed the card and contents to Jordan I joked " that couldnt have happened an hour ago GOD ? " My answer was immediate - NO - because you would not have had that LIFE LESSON you just had with your son . God didnt just send a check through another family, he kept me in check and also showed my son His will and way .

This year has taught me that everyday can be a Life Lesson and it comes with both positive and negative , an opportunity to learn, love and touch and more so, be touched. These moments have fueled the passion and also made me see even more the incredible need for community and togetherness we all must bring everyday . One of the most awesome things to make this happen has been each and everyone of yall who care so much for others and show it through your compassion and also gifts that God has given yall to make things better.

The One Project is - " using at least ONE gift from God to make our community stronger .
Sandlot Moto - Building Faith, Families and Communities ONE inning at a time.

Everyone of yall are doing that and this is the reason we are making a difference . 2017 brought higher registration numbers for Sandlot in both seasons, we assisted more families than any other year in one form or another , our scholarships for kids to play numbers were up in both seasons and that is awesome . This meant that we had families that might not have been able to afford the seasons be able to join us and be able to use at least One of their Gifts for our community and to grow along side all of us . Now when I say scholarship that doesnt mean there are finances set aside but what it does mean is that God provided and thats even more AMAZING .

Last month we did a Food Drive , Toys for tots drive and a huge Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who wanted to come and eat. This event was probably the biggest " Life Lesson " of the year for my family and hopefully some of yall . From the Monday before Thanksgiving at noon through Saturday we stayed at The Sandlot and did Gods work . Within a day and a half yall filled a 26 foot box truck full of food and we collected enough toys to fill our 29 foot rv three and a half times . Thanksgiving day we had over 10 turkeys donated that we deep fried and enough food and side dishes that after we feed everyone who came Thanksgiving morning we filled a van full and took it to a place that still had folks in line to eat . The food that was collected was all gone by Saturday mid day and was distributed to anyone who came out, a local church and a mission in Winston Salem ( I later found out that the remaining food given to this mission feed 188 families ). We had folks stay overnight with us including two Marines , we had families come out and cook dinner, sing , roast smores, and fellowship . We also created relationships that went past that week and are still ongoing and will be into 2018 . This was all possible because of yalls love for our community and devotion to being the hands and feet ( AND HEARTS ) of God and I am so honored to be a part of it . This was all done in less than a week in a little town in the heart of North Carolina . Now saying this  - WE CANNOT LET IT SLIP TO THE WAYSIDE . In fact, we have to do more and then incredible thing is it doesnt take as much effort as one might think.

Now I know in projects that we all do there is some sort of planning but for the most part we probably spend more time thinking than we we do doing . Again , for the most part - " 20 minutes thinking about it wastes 20 minutes of doing it !! ". We often ask ourselves " What can we DO ? " well the answer is actually in the question ! " You can DO !!! You can provide HOPE !!

You can pick up another 5 cans of .39 corn a week during your shopping and drop it off to someone who needs it or organization , you can spend your day off once a month doing for someone else, you can buy a $15.00 gift anytime during the year and drop it off to a needy families kid in December , you can donate your household items and clothes to other families , you can make a meal once a month for a family you know needs it and deliver it by hand , you can give someone a hug everyday , you can call a family member once a week to just check in , you can shake a veterans hand whom you might never have met and say " thanks for your service " , you can pray with someone or for someone everyday - it doesnt have to be long . Take your family with you , do these things in front of and with your family - continue to show them Gods Love for others through you .
We often feel that we have to be ALL IN 100 % of the time to make a difference but we dont . IF everyone in one county set aside $4.00 a week for extra food then nobody would go hungry and there would be more left over . In doing this I can promise you the Life Lessons you get will be far more greater than what you give and thats awesome in itself . You will get more than you give - yep GOD IS GOOD !!!

Let me put it into perspective about the smaller gifts . Sure it would be awesome if The ONE project and Sandlot Baseball got donations for $10,000 and up at a time but if every person in Forsyth county and Guilford County donated $1 ( ONE ) dollar a year we could feed , clothe and house over 200 families in need plus do more than we have ever done in our community . $1 per person . ONE !

As i sit here on New Years Eve in my chair beside the window to the front yard I noticed all the bare trees and bushes and can even sense how cold it is outside , but this morning I had the overwhelming sense of comfort that even this is GODS plan , The trees and bushes will have leaves the cold will give way to warmth , the sun will always rise and set and new life is created everyday. The sun started to climb over the buildings across the street and even now I can feel the sunshine in my chair. Another Life Lesson that even in the cold and bareness the Warmth of God is with me , that even when a cloud shades that warmth the wind of God will blow the cloud away for the light to shine again. I gain even more comfort knowing that my family is here inside this house and that my Sandlot Family is also close by . How can we make others in our community feel the love and safety and warmth that we all have because of each other in 2018 .

May you all have a blessed NEW YEAR and from Shelby, Jordan Michaela and Myself - We Love Each and Everyone of yall.

Lets Play Ball,

Coach Mike