When Becky and I first envisioned Wilson Living Magazine, we decided to end each issue with a first person narrative written bysomeone who we thought had found the good life. The “good life” doesn’t mean the biggest house or the fanciest job, what it means is that in some way that person has found purpose, contentment and gratitude, right here at home.
Each issue, choosing whom to ask to write our favorite piece is a difficult task. When deciding upon our friend Anna-Lee to write this issue’s piece, we chose her because in a myriad of ways she embodies “the good life.” She is a working mother who not only is known for her exceptional business skills but also for her amazing talents that have helped various non-profitts throughout our community. She also happens to be one heck of an involved Mom to three children and a dedicated wife to a busy husband. All the while, Anna-Lee presents herself to all those she meets as poised, polite and a perfect example of someone who certainly has figured out what the “good life” is all about.
So, you can imagine our surprise, when she turned in her piece and we realized Anna-Lee had not written about herself. And then Becky and I laughed, typical Anna-Lee!
Only Anna-Lee would find her piece of the good life, by honoring those who have made our community – a place where we all can find the good life. Only Anna-Lee would take this platform and use it to inspire us all to do more, so that others can have a better life.
Only Anna-Lee would make “Finding Your Piece of the Good Life” better than it has ever been before.
By ANNA-LEE COCKRILL
One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.
As I write this, the Middle Tennessee landscape is bursting with dogwood trees and fresh buttercups. This is God’s country. He has hand decorated this small southern town with beautiful rolling hills and deep rich foliage. The landscape is reason enough to seek out a life here and may be a small part of what attracts newcomers. It is the people though that you meet along the way that make it worth staying. In Wilson County, we are blessed with folks who are storing up treasures in heaven – thanks to their selfless efforts that challenge us to make a positive impact in our community.
In preparing for “The Good Life” article, I kept coming back to the people who surround us every day. Those people who touch others with their unselfish determination to be servant leaders. Do you know the ones? Those people behind the scenes who exhibit strong, enduring work ethics? The ones who take the tasks of many and just do the work? The ones who, without complaining or seeking praise for their success, seem to make it look easy?
Those are the people who make me pause. They lead by example; and, quietly and humbly inspire others, including myself, to see how I can look for opportunities to make a difference.
Because life is more than just a game.
There is an extremely humble man whose successes one might think lie within his accomplishments – which are many. I’m speaking of Cumberland University’s legendary Hall of Fame head baseball coach Woody Hunt – known as one of only six coaches in history to register 1,000 career victories in the NAIA. The accolades go on and on yet his impact is felt even stronger off the field. He instills a strong Christian-centered work ethic as he mentors those around him – fostering morals, values and hard work.
He’s not just coaching ball players – he’s forging character into these young men. Many of his former players have settled into lives after baseball and are impacting the lives of others by passing along those life-lessons through coaching, ministering and giving back. He serves as a real inspiration.
Making a difference can bring a lot of people together for one cause.
Sherry’s Run helps those locally who are suffering with cancer. Cancer is an enemy of humanity – taking what is healthy and beautiful and causing physical destruction. It strikes when you least expect it. It does not discriminate. Some of our neighbors who are faced with cancer find themselves in desperate need at the worst possible time.
Sherry’s Run helps. That’s what neighbors do – and that is one of the many reasons that Sherry’s Run is so important. What started as a love for one woman, Sherry, has turned into a fight for all the Sherry’s. You can’t buy hope…but you sure can give it. Hope comes in the reflections of the many faces – 3,842 this past year – that participated in the annual 5K Run.
Although the harder path to follow, the funds are distributed locally to those who qualify rather than giving it to a national cancer organization.
Making a difference can join the forces of the most unlikely of pairs.
Alex Johnson is a Friendship Christian School first grader with a rare form of skeletal dysplasia that limits him to a wheelchair.
Greg Armstrong is a high school teacher at FCS who teaches Biology, Bible, Environmental Science, Anatomy and Physiology. Last summer, Alex told Greg, an ultramarathon runner and iron-man tri-athlete, “Coach Armstrong, I’m going to race you one of these days.” Greg took him up on the challenge and helped Alex train for four weeks to walk, with the aid of his walker, the last 45 yards ofSherry’s Run.
Your hero doesn’t have to be a famous person, it can be a child who through his motto “Never complain” (Philippians 2:14) “And never give up,” inspired over 600 to join his team – “Team AleX.” Alex met his goal to finish the race and along the way raised $2,404 to help Sherry’s Run patients. Alex is a difference maker!
Impossibilities vanish when you dedicate yourself to a dream.
What started out in a Lebanon garage in 1999 through the efforts of a group of pediatric therapists now impacts children with disabilities in our area. Empower Me Day Camp was born to fill a need to enhance the quality of lives of children with disabilities. The dreams of the children they help are being fulfilled through the many camps and year-round recreational programs offered, allowing access and opportunity for children to play and enjoy being a child.
Showing strangers love.
The Possum Town Outreach began making mission trips to Sneedville, Tennessee in the late ’90’s. In collaboration with this outreach, Friendship Christian School students and faculty visited a man named Mr. Jimmy Booth in his small shed that he called home. Mr. Booth was in desperate need of warm shelter and food; however, he always said to go help someone else who needed it more. He had no water and the winter months were leaving him cold and hungry. The FCS students, in partnership with the Run4Water team, started raising money to buy Mr. Booth a trailer. The trailer was purchased along with food, blankets, kitchen supplies, and Christmas decorations.
The students prayed blessings over the trailer and made the trip to Sneedville to personally deliver it. Mr. Booth was overwhelmed by the generosity of those he had never met. Those who are loved are not poor.
Finding the Good Life by ensuring others find it as well.
When you think of “the good life” here, recognize that it takes all of us to make a positive difference…neighbors helping neighbors. Everyday acts of kindness, compassion and hard work are making an impact right here at home. Challenge yourself to redefine what the notion of riches and success and value is. The materialistic more-better-faster culture may not be the answer. Ask yourself what you can do today – then act.
Working for God on earth doesn’t pay much…but, His retirement plan is out of this world.