One Little Girl, One Church Volunteer, and Two Bracelets

On a typical Sunday morning last summer my wife was at her usual guest services position at North Point Church making sure first time guests had reserved seats in the main auditorium while they navigated getting their children to their UpStreet classroom. This particular weekend was a big weekend for the kids because they were to receive their hero bracelets. All month-long the North Pointer kids, grades K thru 5, were learning about the Super Heroes of the Bible and how trusting God is their ultimate super power.


On this Sunday they were to stop by a kiosk on their way into UpStreet to pick up their Super Hero identification bracelets. Unfortunately this Sunday a Mom was running late, really late. She saw my wife’s guest services badge and asked where her daughter should pick up her bracelet. Shari had to tell her that they had all already been handed out. The kindergartners’ eyes filled with tears. Not to be deterred, my wife bent over and said to the sad little girl, “How about this bracelet instead?”

Cancer Steals Life – Research Saves Lives

Which is Why I Hope You Will Join Our Team

When David answered the door, he had no idea how his life was about to change. His doctor and friend had come to tell him he had chronic myelogenous leukemia and just 3-5 years to live. Click on the screenshot and hear about David’s remarkable cancer journey.

 [tentblogger-youtube gzQHG-hOHxY]

Even if you can’t walk with us on October 1st, you can join the Leveraging Life Stick It 2 cancer team by making a donation of any amount. It all adds up and has the potential to save lives like you just saw in that video.


I’m not sure if I should classify today as a milestone or an anniversary? Truth be told four months ago a conversation took place which caused me to circle this date on the calendar and I hoped I would reach this milestone.


iStockphoto © Victor Correia

4 months, 4 years, or 40 years

I always envisioned the day my fiance and I applied for our marriage license would be a fun day. Unfortunately March 3, 2011 was anything but fun as we had to squeeze in getting our marriage license between a series of doctor’s appointments. The last two weeks were a blur of activity as Shari and I learned my cancer I not only returned but had metastasized to the point where I was now categorized with Stage 4 merkel cell cancer. Our plans for a Fall wedding were radically changed with the cancer news and we found planning for our wedding which was only 21 days away. Sadly I never allowed myself to experience fun or joy this day, I was too busy feeling sorry for myself, being angry, and I was looking for someone to blame…God!

Leveraging Faith

iStockphotos © Michel de Nijs

Sixteen hours in a car driving to and from Indiana for a wedding last weekend afforded me a good bit of time to reflect on the first six months of 2011. In the moments when my family dozed, one thought emerged almost as often as overpasses appeared on the horizon:

I had not “paused” as often as I hoped to this year.

My first inclination was to go through a long list of excuses why, and those familiar with my story might consider most to be legitimate. Regardless of the excuses, though, one question lingered.

Is there a correlation between pausing and being grateful?

When you live your life at a pace life dictates, you miss what opportunities are present to go deeper, past those surface level observations. At the surface everything is a blur, much like when you lie in bed at night and the day just plays through your head like a movie preview trailer. But if you truly desire to see the real story being written by your life, you need to make an effort to look past the obvious and find the picture God is painting.

When God Winks On Love

when-god-winks-on-loveWhat you see here is what greeted Shari on the afternoon I proposed. Most people would say three weeks is just too short of period of time to plan a wedding.

We crammed a lot of life and so many experiences into those 21 incredible days leading up to our wedding day. Our decision to be married, despite the circumstances surrounding my cancer‘s return, was met with so many affirmations which lead us to move forward with our decision to be married in the Spring rather than later in the Fall.

Shari and I were were so grateful for the affirmation we received from family and friends who saw in us what we believed God was doing in our lives and in our courtship. We were also blessed by the God Winks which became apparent during this period and helped us to choose to become husband and wife on March 19, 2011.

The Greatest Day of My Life!

Regardless of the size wedding, planning and coordination are key when planning an event of this magnitude in one’s life . The planning should take in all the aspects which create memories which span a lifetime for you and your wife along with the special guests who attend.

Time usually is the best friend for the bride and groom in the planning as they have months to prepare for the big day. Unfortunately Shari and I didn’t have the luxury of time as circumstances dictated there were only 21 days for us to plan and celebrate our wedding day. Despite all the obstacles and the coordinating of all the logistics, somehow, everything all fell into place for us to be married.


Our God Wink Story

Shari and I met in 2008 while we attended different locations (campuses) of North Point Church. We met, but for this part of our story it started and ended with this meeting.  Despite meeting then, both of us would go on our separate ways for the next two years but the meeting in 2008 would be an important footnote in our story which would come together two years later.

Random, Fate, or another God Wink

Fast-forward to the spring of 2010 where we both find ourselves in the North Point Church Singles environment called Fusion. Despite the odds Shari and I find ourselves placed same host home as opposed to the other five during this cycle. We believe the odds for us to be placed in the same host home twice in two years was astronomical and we believe this fate of our placement to be a big defining God Wink in our lives!

This time something clicked, and in our re-connection something was different; and we were different! As we came to know each other through the North Point singles ministry we also connected on another level as learned we had both battled cancer. It was through this connection we grew closer as news of my cancer spreading impacted both of our lives.

The 5 “F’s” – Friends

          FAMILY                              FINANCES      


FITNESS                           FRIENDS 


Like family, Friends play a significant role and are a key factor in the 5 F’s, and there is no doubt what influence friends will have as I move into my Next 25. In two of my previous posts The Next 25 and part one of the 5 F’s – Family there are five elements to living my life differently now based on the life lessons learned.

Bob Balestri © istockphoto

 As I glance in my rear-view mirror covering my First 25 years since college, I see a guy who was blessed with great friends, some where the friendships go back over 3 decades. But I also see times where had I not been too proud to ask, advice would have been given which would have or could have influenced decisions and moved me in a different direction. Also see time when my conscious led me to seek advice, yet my ego led me to those whose advice mirrored what I wanted to hear and not what I needed to be told.

One glaring area was when I was at career crossroads and opened my company The Auto Source. While most assumed my motivation was to finally have my own business, something which had been a life-long ambition, had I solicited input from a few friends who already owned businesses I might have delayed or re-thought the real motivation for opening it at that time. Truth be told, after the company I ran was sold and the staff of 60+ people I had assembled was left with no say in our/my future, opening my company was my way of never letting that happen again. Even with a good business plan, faulty motivation and misguided mission will derail most businesses.

“your windshield is bigger than your rear-view mirror for a reason”

Jim Jurica © istockphoto

Moving forward into my Next 25, my focus will emphasize listening to and acting on the advice I’m given, solicited and unsolicited. Key friends have been assembled to form my circle of influence, or as Buckhead Churchcampus Pastor Jeff Henderson calls it, a personal advisory board. His thinking for his life is that if Coca Cola, Delta, and Home Depot think highly enough to utilize a board of advisers to influence and direct the course of their businesses, wouldn’t it be prudent and wise for an individual to do that as well. 

So in the midst of my transition into the Next 25 years since college, my circle of influence is in place and they have been given permission to speak into my life. They know my faults and weaknesses, my strengths and gifts, and have permission to speak into the times where and when they see faults and weaknesses manifesting themselves in my decision making process and when gifts are not being applied.

“Where there is no guidance the people fall,
But in abundance of counselors there is victory.”

Proverbs 11:14

Ultimately, we all have a choice of who and what has influence in our lives; but for me, glances into my rear view mirror of what a lack of influence cost me combined with this Bible verse has set the course for my Next 25 Years.

I highly suggest listening to Jeff’s message, A Word From The Coach, on the power of a personal advisor board especially if you happen to be questioning your purpose in life and or what should you do with your life from this point forward. If you answered yes to either question or if something resonated from what you’ve read here at Leveraging Life, I can’t think of a better way to kick off the New Year than making the time to listen to the entire Game Plan so Your game plan will be in place for 2011!

Next up is Finances and the role it plays in the 5F’s.


trusting God period

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Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast


Most Fridays you will find a something posted here which is a favorite of mine or something recommended by a contributor to the Leveraging Life community. It’s the type of site you go back to over and over because it’s become a resource, a place you find inspiration, or just someplace you enjoy what they serve up. Give the Friday Favorite a look, read, or listen, and I hope you’ll share a few of your favorites for the rest of us as well…and who knows maybe your favorite will show up as a future Friday Favorite.


The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast  (also can be download on iTunes)

Obviously I’m biased as Andy Stanley leads North Point Community Church and I attend North Point’s Buckhead Church Campus in Atlanta. Anyone who is part of  or is leading any type of organization regardless industry can benefit from the wisdom Andy shares each month on his podcast; “a conversation designed to help leaders grow further faster.” 

Don’t be overwhelmed by the amount of content, just dive in where you have an interest in a topic. Or if you want my recommendation can start with: Listening, Learning, and Leading. You will find so much useful information that will be of value now and in the future.

  • What and who you listen to will determine what your do.
  • Leaders are attracted to environments where their opinions are heard.
  • Leaders who refuse to listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing important to say.
  • You’re probably not the smartest person in the organization you are just the leader. 

Those were a few of my takeaways from Andy’s most recent podcast, Listening-Learning-Leading, please share what you found noteworthy in the comment section below.


trusting God period!

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