Thursday, June 13
Published at 9:09 p.m.

Gary Miller's Outdoor Truths,  June 17, 2019
Guy Sheffield's But Anyway, June 11, 2019


Hunter Sharp Earns
Florida FFA Star Discovery Degree

Levy County
The Florida FFA Star Discovery Degree Award recognizes the state’s top Discovery Degree recipient based on the student’s Supervised Agricultural Experience program and other experiences related to FFA and Agricultural Education. All award types (Farmer, Agribusiness, Agri-science and Agricultural Placement) compete together for this award. Hunter Sharp was presented this award at the Florida FFA State Convention in Orlando on Wednesday, June 12. Seen here are (from left) Elaine Mason (Florida FFA Secretary), Don Quincey, Donna Quincey, Hunter Sharp, Matthew Dettloff, and Artha K. Jonassaint (Florida FFA President).
Published June 15, 2019 at 10:39 a.m.

Information and Photo Provided


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CF offers information sessions
for health programs

Published June 12, 2019 at 1:09 p.m.
     OCALA --
The College of Central Florida is conducting Health Sciences program information sessions this month and in July.
     Potential students must attend a session before applying to any of the programs.
     Sessions provide details about admissions criteria, program requirements, costs and more, including the limited-access component. While any student meeting minimum criteria is encouraged to apply, not all applicants may be accepted. A point system is used to score all applications.
     Residents in CF’s service district of Marion, Citrus and Levy counties will receive residency points in the point system.
     There is no waiting list for any of the health science programs and some programs have part-time enrollment options and offer evening/weekend classes.
     Upcoming information sessions include:

     Wednesday, June 12, 3-4 p.m., Ocala Campus Building 16, Room 110, 3001 S.W. College Road. Seating is limited to 24 students. To register email

Nursing (Associate Degree Nursing, Bridge, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
     Tuesday, June 18, 3-4 p.m., Ocala Campus Building 16.
     Monday, July 15, noon-1 p.m., Ocala Campus Building 16.
     Wednesday, July 24, 11 a.m.-noon, Citrus Campus Building C3, Room 107, 3800 S. Lecanto Highway, Lecanto.

Dental Assisting
     Wednesday, June 19, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Hampton Center 1501 W. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala.

Emergency Medical Services
     Wednesday, June 26, 3-4 p.m., Ocala Campus Building 35, Room 105, 3001 S.W. College Road.

Physical Therapist Assistant
     Wednesday, July 10, 4-5:30 p.m., Hampton Center, Room 104, 1501 W. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala.
     Wednesday, July 31, 4-5:30 p.m., Citrus Campus Building C3, Room 201, 3800 S. Lecanto Hwy., Lecanto.
     For information about any of the programs or sessions, call 352-873-5817, or call 352-854-2322, ext. 1655.

CF offers tours of
Levy County campus, June 11-25;

Open House set for July 20
Levy County
This map by Google shows the campus is on the west side of U.S. Highway 19 north or Chiefland and south of the City of Fanning Springs.

Published June 11, 2019 at 9:09 a.m.
The College of Central Florida offers free 30-minute tours of the campus in Levy County throughout the week.
     On the tour, visitorswill get to explore the campus of the College of Central Florida's Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus 15390 N.W. U.S. Highway 19, which is north of Chiefland and south of the city of Fanning Springs.
     Participants will see classrooms and campus amenities, learn about programs of study and find out more about the admissions process.
     This is a walking tour led by one of CF's student ambassadors. Anyone who needs any accommodations for the tour or who would like to schedule a tour during a time not listed, is asked to contact CF at 352-658-4077.
     The method to register for a tour is by clicking HERE.
     Participants are asked to please select one ticket for an entire tour group. Registrants will have the option to indicate how many people will attend in a group once the person registers for the tour.
     Following are the current dates and times of possible tours: June 11 at 10 a.m. or 11:15 a.m.; June 12 at 2 p.m. or 3:15 p.m.; June 18 at 10 a.m or 11:15 a.m.; June 19 at 2 p.m. or 3:15 p.m.; and June 25 at 10 a.m. or 11:15 a.m.

CF open house July 20 at Levy County campus
     LEVY COUNTY -- The College of Central Florida invites recent high school seniors and those looking to advance their career to an open house on Saturday, July 20, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus, 15390 N.W. Highway 19, north of  Chiefland.
     Future students are encouraged to stop by and receive assistance with the application process, financial aid, placement testing, academic advising, campus tours or receive assistance registering for fall semester, which begins Aug. 19.
     CF is offering 40 $1,000 merit scholarships to Levy County students who graduated this spring. Scholarships awarded include $500 for fall 2019 and $500 for spring 2020. To be eligible, students must graduate from a Levy County high school in 2019 and enroll at the CF Levy Campus for the 2019 fall semester.
     Applicants must have a minimum high school GPA of 2.5 and enroll in at least six credit hours each semester with at least one on-site class held at the Levy Campus.
     To apply for financial aid at the event, please bring these documents: Federal Student Aid ID available at; email address; 2017 W-2 and Federal Income Tax Forms (1040, 1040A or 1040 EZ) for you and/or your parents (if you are a dependent student); 2017 untaxed income (Social Security, disability, workman’s compensation, etc.); driver’s license or state ID; Social Security card; spouse or parent’s Social Security number and date of birth. For Florida residency verification, please bring your Florida driver’s license and a copy of your Florida vehicle registration or voter’s registration.
     For more information about the Open House at the Levy County, campus of CF, visit or call 352-658-4077, ext. 2118.

Six dogs adopted at one event
Published June 6, 2019 at 10:09 a.m.
Levy County Animal Services helped six dogs find new homes last Saturday (June 1) at a pet adoption event.
     The dogs named Jenny, Forrest, Amelia, Patsy, Katie and Tim were adopted at the adoption event Saturday.
     The event was held at the Tractor Supply Co, retail outlet in Chiefland, and the Levy County Board of County Commissioners as well as the LCAS staff and others
     LCAS Director David Weatherford, Dr. Darlene Esler, DVM, and Nathan Mercer, Lamar Sears, Morgan Anderson and Crystal Pruitt, all of LCAS were there working to match pets with owners.
     The next adoption event is not scheduled yet.
     Cats and dogs are available for adoption from LCAS. To learn more about Levy County Animal Services, please visit the website by clicking HERE.


City of Cedar Key holds
Annual Hurricane Day

Cedar Key
John Polk with Central Florida Electric Cooperative demonstrates electric current flow that has the potential to be harmful during the Cedar Key Annual Hurricane Day on May 30.

Story and Photos
By C.L. Watson, Journalist
© June 5, 2019 at 10:09 a.m.
     CEDAR KEY --
The City of Cedar Key held the Annual Hurricane Day at the Cedar Key Community Center on May 30.

Cedar Key
John Caddigan of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 15 discussed water safety at the Annual Hurricane Day held in Cedar Key on May 30.

Cedar Key
Personnel from Levy County Mosquito Control were happy to discuss preventative measures such as dumping any standing water around property that could become a breeding habitat for mosquitos. From left to right: Chuck Vanorder, Steve Keith and Nomar Trinidad

Cedar Key
Levy County Emergency Management team members Planner Leatha Keene and Assistant Director David Peaton helped sign up residents with the emergency notification system.  Visit or call 352-486-5213 to register.

Cedar Key
Jason Mattchet, EMT and Steadman McLean, Firefighter were happy to discuss residents’ concerns during the Annual Hurricane Day held in Cedar Key on May 30.

Cedar Key
Howell E. 'Trip' Lancaster III with Waste Pro discussed the importance of securing garbage cans during a hurricane. 

Cedar Key
Cedar Key deputy City Clerk Crystal Sharp signed residents up for reentry passes and distributed golf cart decals. Property owners on the island could receive the pass at request and renters are required to submit a written notice from landlords. The city encourages anyone living on the island to get the reentry pass prior to hurricane or storm surge.

Cedar Key
Red Cross representative Adelina Ramos displays smoke alarm provided free to residents.  Visit or call 352-376-4669 to get a free smoke alarm installed and learn tips on fire prevention.

     Representatives from many organizations participated in helping residents prepare for the hurricane season with information as well by assisting them with signing up for services.
     Cedar Key Deputy Clerk Crystal Sharp distributed reentry passes to city residents, business owners, employees and certain others.
     New passes have been created for 2019. They are required for entry onto the island when conditions are restricted. There are three types of passes available -- residents, business owners and employees, and volunteers/workers. Renters are required to obtain written notice from the landlord to receive a reentry pass.
     One item that may be overlooked during hurricane preparations is securing a garbage can. Howell E. “Trip” Lancaster III with Waste Pro said homeowners often forget to put away the trash container which can float or blow away. The cost of replacement trickles down to the consumer and company both.
     Homeowners and renters also can request a free smoke alarm provided by local fire departments or the Red Cross, email request to or call 352-376-4669.
     In addition to alarm installations, a volunteer will work directly to share tips on how to prevent a fire, complete a home safety checklist and help develop a fire escape plan.
     Levy County Emergency Management recommends having a fully stocked disaster supply kit prepared on hand. Basic supplies include water, food, a first aid kit, tools and emergency supplies, tools and emergency supplies, clothing, toiletries, bedding and valuable papers, documents and keys.

Helpful Website Links
Emergency Notification System Sign Up – Click HERE.
     Don't want to sign up online? Contact Levy County Emergency Management Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to sign up over the phone -- no computer required. Call 352-486-5213.
Special Needs Sheltering Registry click HERE.
County Emergency Management Website
Local Weather Stations

     The message shared by all the community organizations attending the Annual Hurricane Day was to be prepared before the storm, as well as have a plan in case evacuation is required.

Chiefland Chamber Helps
During Emergency Blood Need;
Update: 32 Donations in 2 days

Candace Naughton (with her hair being blown by the breeze), a supervisor with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, stands behind a banner showing there is an emergency need for blood right now for the hospitals that serve the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties as well as for Alachua, Marion, Columbia and other counties in this part of Florida. On Friday (May 31), the Chiefland Chamber of Commerce sponsored a blood drive at the Historic Chiefland Train Depot Park on Southwest Second Avenue and Main Street (U.S. Highway 19) in Chiefland. Naughton said on Friday (May 31) that the local hospitals are “down” in need of 122 units. A unit of blood is equivalent to approximately 1 pint or 450 milliliters. Therefore, the hospitals needed about 15 and one-quarter gallons of blood on Friday. Local hospitals need all eight blood types (O-negative, O-positive, A-negative, A-positive, B-positive, B-negative, AB-negative and AB-positive) to be donated now, she said. LifeSouth Community Blood Centers is the sole provider of blood to local hospitals.

Chiefland Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joy Parker stands next to the Life South Community Blood Centers’ bloodmobile Friday (May 31).  The Chamber of Commerce provided hotdogs, coleslaw, baked beans and potato salad as a lunch for visitors. The Chamber also provided a portable grill, and other items, including a gift basket in raffles that were part of the blood drive.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Regional Manager Trish Andress holds the gift basket, which went to some lucky raffle winner on Friday.

Tammy Baldassarre, a donor recruiter for LifeSouth Community Blood Centers’ holds the grill that went to a raffle winner Friday. Among the people working to save lives by collecting blood was Lauren Ditter, a donor service technician with for LifeSouth Community Blood Centers.

The LifeSouth Community Blood Centers’ bloodmobile also collected blood during the watermelon festival next day Saturday, June 1.

* UPDATED June 3, 2019 at 11:09 a.m.

32 blood donations in two days in Chiefland
     There were 11 donors at the Chamber event on Friday. Those 11 were from eight whole blood donations, one double red-cell donation and two plasma donations. There were five first-time blood donors. On Saturday (June 1) at the Chiefland Watermelon Festival, LifeSouth had 18 donations. Of those 18, 15 were whole blood donations, and there was one double red-cell donation and two plasma donations. That included eight first-time blood donors!
     There were a total of 29 donations for the Chiefland mobile drives. Plus, there was one platelet donation at the Chiefland Donor Center on Friday (May 31) and two platelet donations at the donor center on Saturday (June 1).
     That equals a grand total of 32 lifesaving donations in Chiefland in two days.
     The staff and leaders at LifeSouth express their appreciation to all who gave during the extremely hot conditions on those days.

For donors who missed opportunity to give blood on Friday or Saturday to LifeSouth Community Blood Centers can donate to died using the website seen by clicking HERE.
Photos By Jeff M. Hardison © June 2, 2019 at 12:09 p.m.
* Updated June 3, 2019 at 11:09 a.m.

All Copyrights Reserved


Elder Options seeks volunteer
balance training coaches

Training in Sumter County on July 10 and 11
Published June 1, 2019 at 9:09 a.m.
Elder Options is providing training for volunteers who are interested in becoming A Matter of Balance coach.
     This is a free eight-hour Leader Training for volunteers to become certified as A Matter of Balance coaches. Coaches will help participants become more confident about managing falls, help to identify ways to reduce falls, and lead exercises to help increase strength and balance.
     Many older adults experience concerns about falling and restrict their activities. A Matter of Balance is an award-winning program designed to manage falls and increase activity levels.
     This program emphasizes practical strategies to manage and prevent falls.
     Participants Will Learn To
     • View falls as controllable
     • Set goals for increasing activity
     • Make changes to reduce fall risks at home
     • Exercise to increase strength and balance
     What do you need to be a coach?
     • Good communication and interpersonal skills.
     • Enthusiasm, dependability and a willingness to lead small groups of older adults.
     • Ability to lead low to moderate level exercise.
      A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls -- This program is based on Fear of Falling: A Matter of Balance. Copyright ©1995 Trustees of Boston University. All rights rescinded. Used and adapted by permission of Boston University. A Matter of Balance Lay Leader Model Recognized for Innovation and Quality in Healthcare and Aging, 2006, American Society on Aging.  A Matter of Balance Lay Leader Mode/ was developed by a grant from the Administration on Aging.
     This is a free eight-hour Leader Training for volunteers to become certified as A Matter of Balance Coaches. Coaches will help participants become more confident about managing falls, help to identify ways to reduce falls, and lead exercises to help increase strength and balance.
     Coaching materials will be provided for certified volunteers who agree to coach two A Matter of Balance workshops within      one year.
     Elder Options provides ongoing support and mentoring for each certified volunteer coach.
     The dates and times for these two sessions to become a coach are July 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and July 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
     Participants must attend both days for certification.
     This program is happening at the Webster Community Center   49 S.E. First Ave. in Webster (Sumter County).
     For more information or to register, contact Betty Flagg at 352-692-5219 or Megan McCarthy at 352-569-3134 or by email at or, or Register online by clicking HERE.

Bones continue to mend
for daily news website publisher

By Jeff M. Hardison © May 30, 2019 at 9:09 p.m.
     GAINESVILLE -- publisher Jeff M. Hardison heard a promising prognosis from his orthopedic surgeon Thursday morning (May 30).

X-rays of Jeff M. Hardison's wrist
The Feb. 28 X-ray (left) and the May 30 X-ray show areas where bone growth is starting after being treated with OrthFix’s PhysioStim device for bone growth stimulation, where it had not started before.
X-rays by The Orthopaedic Institute

     A set of X-rays taken Thursday showed bones are starting to fuse, when previous X-ray and CT scans showed no progress around the plate, four screws and seven pins holding bone parts together in his left ulna and some wrist bones.
     Dr. Jason T. Shinn of the Orthopaedic Institute had prescribed a machine from OrthoFix to be used by the injured journalist for 90 days, at three hours per day. As of the Thursday visit, Hardison had completed 60 consecutive three-hour sessions.
     “So far,” Hardison said, “I think I may not have to undergo more surgery on that arm. I’ll return for another review in six weeks.”
     Meanwhile, the multiple daily and weekly newspaper multiple award-winning reporter and editor is on the brink of celebrating a 45-year class reunion with colleagues at Northeast High School in St. Petersburg in June, as well as a pending 30th anniversary celebration with his wife Sharon in July.
     “It’s all good,” Hardison said. “I appreciate everyone who has prayed for this positive outcome regarding my bones healing. Prayer works.”
     Dr. Shinn told the journalist that he may type. He may do light yardwork if he is wearing his splint. The doctor advised his patient to not attempt too much, too soon.
     The 30 more sessions of OrthFix’s PhysioStim device are still part of the planned procedure for full recovery.
     As noted on the company’s website: “The PhysioStim device has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of nonunion fractures.”
     Florida Blue would not approve payment for this device until after 90 days of nonunion fractures were proved by X-rays and CT scans.
     Hardison suffered a compound fracture while covering the Dec. 8, 2018 Christmas Parade in Chiefland.
HERE is the archived story and photos about the initial injury.
HERE is an archived story showing how scans reflect bones were not fusing.

Cedar Key Lions Club
officers installed

Cedar Key Lions Club Officers Installed
Seen here are are Past District Governor Estelle Clark and (from left) 1st Vice President George Sresovich, Treasurer Faye Sanders, Secretary and Member Chair Steven Rosenthal, Director Susan Rosenthal, 2nd Vice President Donna Bushnell, President Mike Hodges, Director Nancy Sera and Director Maurice Hendrix.

Story and Photos
By Rory Brennan, Lion
Published May 29, 2019 at 10:19 p.m.
     CEDAR KEY --
On Tuesday (May 28), Past District Governor Estelle Clark installed the 2019-2020 Cedar Key Lions Club’s newly elected officers and board of directors at a delightful installation dinner held in Cedar Key’s historic Island Hotel.

Cedar Key Lions Club
New Cedar Key Lions Club Member Esta Johnston with her sponsor Lion Susan Rosenthal as she is inducted by Past District Governor Estelle Clark.

     The Island Hotel & Restaurant is located at 373 Second St. in beautiful downtown Cedar Key.
     In an entertaining, fun, as well as educational presentation using candy bars as aptly named symbolic visual aids, Lion Estelle Clark installed officers Mike Hodges as President, George Sresovich as 1st Vice President, Donna Bushnell as 2nd Vice President, Faye Sanders as Treasurer, and Steven Rosenthal as Secretary and membership director.
     Rounding off the board installations were incoming Directors Nancy Sera, Maurice Hendrix, and Susan Rosenthal.
     Lion Estelle also inducted Esta Johnston as the Lions’ newest member.
     Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with 1.4 million members in 200 countries and regions around the world. Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired and continue to meet the needs of communities at home and around the world. Lions share a core belief that community is what we make it.
     For more information or to get involved with the Cedar Key Lions Club, please contact membership Chair Steven Rosenthal at 352-477-1276.

Celebration of Life planned
in honor of Roland Senecal;
Event on June 29

Roland Senecal
Information and Photo
Provided by the Senecal family
Published May 21, 2019 at 9:49 a.m.
Updated May 22, 2019 at 8:29 p.m.
     CEDAR KEY --
It is with sadness that the family of Roland Senecal announces his passing after a brief illness, on Friday, May 10, 2019, at the age of 79.
     Roland will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 55 years, Eileen and his children Charlene (Denny), Marc (Jody) and Eileen (Steve). Roland will be fondly remembered also by his nine grandchildren, Katy, Colin, Jaime, Kevin, Chad, Jake, Maddy, Caitlyn and Bridget, as well as his great-granddaughter Dakota, and sisters Lorraine Skeldon, Elaine Senecal, and brother Ron (Fran) Senecal.
     A Celebration of Life is scheduled to be held on June 29, from 2 to 4 p.m. at The Island Hotel, 373 Second St. in Cedar Key.
     Roland was a proud member of the Cedar Key Lions Club. Those who desire, may make memorial donations in memory of Roland to the Cedar Key Lions Club at P. O. Box 68, Cedar Key, FL 32625; OR bring used eyeglasses to the Celebration of Life at The Island Hotel on June 29.



     On Feb. 1, 2011, came to exist on the Internet. On Nov. 1, 2011, The Christian Press section on The Life Page of started, which was about nine months after the start of the daily news website -- which officially began Feb. 1, 2011. The name "The Christian Press" was derived from an encounter a decade earlier in 2001 in St. Petersburg, when and where a man mentioned to a journalist that this particular journalist must work for "The Christian Press." Although the presumption byt he man about that journalist was incorrect and misplaced, the name sounded good. And the the journalist said that if he could work for The Christian Press, then that certainly would be the publication to serve.
     Since Nov. 1, 2011, The Christian Press section of this page has run daily devotionals from several individuals who contributed over the past years. There were two days in 2018 when the daily devotional did not run due to a journalist requiring emeregency orthopedic surgery on bones in his left arm and wrist. That added metal, though, makes that part of that arm even more able to withstand forces. Many daily devotionals are pulled from Strength for Service to God and Country (Whitmore & Stone © 1942; Renewed 1969 by Norman E. Nygaard; Second revised edition © 2002 Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Providence House Publishers). I note my appreciation for the use of those devotionals from that now-defunct publishing company. I welcome contributions of daily devotionals. Daily devotional authors are asked to please send only their original works to

June 17, 2019  Tuesday at 7:09 a.m.

     Read Ephesians 6:10-18

     Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
-- Ephesians 6:11 (KJV)

     Paul, writing about Christian soldiers, lists their weapons. First, they had the belt, which bound their garments so that there would be nothing loose as they went into battle. The belt was to brace them for action and keep them tense and firm. The belt stands for truth. A braced body symbolizes a mind alert and ready.
     Second, the breastplate protected the vital organs. It stands for righteousness, an attitude of complete sincerity, a life of unquestionable moral integrity. No one can serve family, or community, or nation unless his or her purpose is honest.
     Third, the shoes. For the Roman, as for the modern soldier, shoes were an important item. They must stand a lot of wear and must not hamper swift movement over rough ground. They stand for a zeal which can endure through the war and help in building peace.
     Fourth, the shield, shaped like a small door and covered with thick leather, was especially useful in warding off flaming arrows. The shield stands for faith, by which today a soldier wards off temptation.
     Fifth, the helmet, stands for the protection of a constant relationship with God.
     Sixth, the sword, is a symbol of the power of a spiritually dedicated life.
     Finally, an invisible weapon, the weapon of prayer, refers to the mood of expectancy at the hands of God which should characterize the Christian at all times.
     ALMIGHTY GOD, keep us strong in our faith and eager in our desire to magnify Thy name. I make this prayer through Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. Frank Fitt (1889-1982)
Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, Presbyterian,
Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan

Strength for Service to God and Country
(Whitmore & Stone © 1942; Renewed 1969 by Norman E. Nygaard; Second revised edition © 2002 Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Providence House Publishers)



Published June 13, 2019 at 9:09 p.m.

First UMC CHiefland Pastor Alex Christian Connections


Pastor Alex Christian of First United Methodist Church of Chiefland provides a daily devotional video each Monday through Thursday via the church's Facebook page. Pastor Christian (or Pastor Alex as some people call him) in this video offers insight as well as other as aspects that may be inspirational to individuals.

Pastor Christian is moving from First United Methodist Chiefland and has been appointed to a new church in Lake Placid Florida -- Memorial United Methodist. In this, his last videoint  he series here (June 13), Pastor Christian is focusing on how we are all called to a new beginning.

     The pastor provides insight today (June 13) about how we can forward into a new beginning.
     Click HERE to hear this pastor in this video


Isaiah 43:16-21 (NIV)
     This is what the Lord says—he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters,17 who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick. 18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.20 The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen,21 the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.


Outdoor Truths Ministry

By Gary Miller © June 17, 2019 at 7:09 a.m.

     In my area, June has been a very pleasant month for outdoor activities. There have been many days where the mornings have had a nip to them and where the midday seemed almost deplete of any humidity. These will soon be overcome by the sweltering days of August. But until then I will savor each moment.
     Fishing has become the pastime of most outdoorsmen. Many of these trips have a camping aspect attached which makes them even more memorable. I’ve already enjoyed a night on the riverbank, sitting beside a campfire. I enjoyed a baked potato cooked by the embers from the fire, along with fried redeye that was caught that evening. I often challenge myself by not taking anything of substance to eat on these trips. If I catch something, I eat. If I don’t, I don’t. This makes me fish for quantity and not quality. I use the bait I think is most likely to catch a fish – any fish. And what otherwise would be catch and release, is now catch and cook, even the ones that are usually considered too small. It’s a fun way of really seeing if I could live off my little land. The key, however, is not having a backup plan. And to be honest, even something as little as one night without a good meal doesn’t sit well with me. That’s really a shame. I have never known of anyone who died from missing one meal. We Americans could stand to miss a few more. But I digress.
     Do you have backup plans? Most of us do. Sometimes we never know what they are until we are put in a predicament whereby plan A fails. It’s at that time our mind begins to work frantically to find another way; to make it work; to adapt, overcome, improvise. And all of this sounds honorable, but did you know that real faith- the greatest faith – has no backup plans. There are no contingent strategies if plan A fails. Did you know that God calls us to trust Him in this way at times? It’s true. Even in the first and most basic aspect of our hope, God asks us to trust Him to get us to Heaven. We do, and then leave it there, without any thought of what we might do if we are wrong. If God would ask us to trust Him in this, without any backup plans, why would He not ask us to trust Him this way in other matters as well? He would and He does. My friend, don’t think it strange if God asks you to do something and leaves no room for contingencies. He is simply testing the depth of your faith. Real faith jumps far enough out, leaving no possibility of reaching back to anything that might be attached to the security that we just left. Sometimes it’s God or nothing.

Gary Miller has three books that are compilations of the articles he has written for nearly 15 years. He also speaks at game dinners and men’s groups for churches and associations.
Gary Miller's website is located at


The Stuff From Which
Champions Are Carved

By Guy Sheffield © June 11, 2019 at 4:09 p.m.
     I guess stuffing a freshman in his high school baseball locker after a game is never really a good idea, no matter what may have happened out on the diamond. It doesn’t build team unity, or impress a coach who’s invested three years into trying to teach you some class. Yes… bullying is bad, I’m sure of it, no matter how good it may make you feel at the time. It’s wrong, wrong, wrong! Sorry coach. Sorry freshman.
     I probably shouldn’t have taken the mound that day anyway. Clearly I didn’t have my stuff. A sharp pain was shooting through my shoulder causing my fast ball to waft up to the plate like a crippled zeppelin dragging a minibus. I just wanted one last chance to silence our cocky arch rivals as they heckled me from the other dugout. So I lied and said my arm felt fine. Sorry coach.
     After my first few pitches, and the corresponding neck wrenching doubles they elicited, I hastily adjusted my game plan. I had to reach for two rarely used weapons in my arsenal, my curve ball and my brain. Neither had ever proven very overpowering. In desperation I begin trying to pitch smart, hitting spots, and rallying the team behind me.
      I soon realized that acting like a team player wasn’t that bad after all. Maybe not as effective as a good fastball, but hey, coupled with a few runs of our own, we actually headed into the last inning leading by one.
     I stumbled out to the mound for those final three outs a weary mix of caked dust and sweat; dragging the long shadows of boyhood- threatening the makings of a man. I’d left my all out on the field that day, including most of the cartilage from my shoulder. Hitching up my pants I eagerly set about to finally settle this vendetta between our two schools.
      My first pitch was promptly roped out into left field for a single. I walked the next guy with four straight pitches. This was not turning out the way I planned! Was I going to fall apart at crunch time? The other team was already laughing me to scorn. They knew I had nothing left. I turned to my coach halfway hoping he’d pull me. His jaw muscles were working, but he just clapped and gave me a nod of confidence. With that I managed to get the next one over the plate. It was slapped pretty hard down the line, but thankfully our third baseman got enough leather on it to knock it down and step on the bag for the force. My next big sweeping curve ball was blasted deep to left; back, back, way back, only to be hauled down at the fence for the second out. The runners had tagged however, leaving the potential winning run at second base. Who then should saunter up the plate? Eric Anderson, my rival since t-ball, star pitcher, and clean-up hitter. I dug down deep, and with the aid of two of his towering shots landing just foul, I was somehow able to work him to a full count. Clearly the drama had unfolded before us like that tattered ole’ battle flag flapping in the winds of destiny. We were entering into that small chunk of time from which the world carves its champions. Eric’s team appeared confident, no doubt already mentally etching their names on the conference trophy. A bat boy cried, “Knock that rinky-dink curve outta here!”
     My catcher flashed the same two fingers he had all game, but I’d already made up my mind. Despite all the pain, and the risk of permanent damage to my shoulder, it would be one pitch for all the glory. I gritted my teeth, and went into my windup with the threads gripped for a fastball. A lightning bolt of pain ripped through my shoulder and shot through my fingertips. That baseball carried everything I had left. It wasn’t much, yet just enough to throw Eric’s timing off. He dribbled a slow roller straight to our second baseman- our FRESHMAN second baseman!
     I’d like to report he scooped it up and made the short toss to first to end the game. I’d also like to say that my character changed completely that day and I never again acted like a bully, or a self centered cry baby, but you’ve probably read way too many of my stories to believe that. Truth is- we’re all just human. We’ve got a tendency to boot the big one at crunch time, or stuff the one that does in a locker. I’m not justifying, I’m just saying. Our best pitch is to learn to call on the mercy and forgiveness of the Lord Jesus; the only truly perfect One. He’ll keep working with those who’ll keep working with Him. (And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6 NLT)
     Buy anyway - We’re all just making our way up through the minor leagues here. Don’t give up on yourself, and don’t get down on your teammates. Just be quick to say ‘Sorry Coach’ when you miss it, and hitch your pants up and get back on the mound. That’s the stuff from which real champions are carved.

Guy Sheffield's website - But Anyway is located at
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