The Homeless Man with a Golden Voice


By now you’ve most likely heard the name Ted Williams in the news. No, not the deceased baseball great, but this Ted Williams: Homeless Man With a Golden Voice.

The story of Ted Williams initially was reported by the Columbus Dispatch. They’ve got an entire page devoted to coverage of him now: The Man With the Golden Pipes.

But which story of inspiration do you take from Ted Williams’ riches-to-rags-to-riches story?

There’s a back-story, as there usually always seems to be in these kinds of stories, to Ted’s recent burst onto the scene after that initial Columbus Dispatch video went viral and was viewed some 13 million times. It’s complicated, that back-story, but the threads all tug at your emotions. Which one is the story of inspiration? The one of Ted, battling with various addictions, living on the streets, being rediscovered? Or the one of his former wife, a woman who raised the couple’s four daughters as a single mom, and who also took in another child that Ted had with another woman? Here’s that story in today’s New York Daily News. In all, Ted has nine children.

Or is it, perhaps, Ted’s 90-year-old mother, who gave up trying to cope with her son and gave him up to God to watch over, praying for him all the while, and all the while trying to convince her son to embrace God. She’s been a member of her church for more than 50 years. She spelled out her story on this morning’s “Good Morning America” show.

Wherever you look throughout the timeline of this story, there are numerous levels of inspiration. Where do you find yours?

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‘Breaking Night’ – The Power of the Serenity Prayer

Click the above image to go to an amazing video that is on Guidepost’s website about a woman who went from “Homeless to Harvard” and who came to learn the Serenity Prayer at a very young age in a way no teen ever should have to. It’s an amazingly inspiring explanation of the meaning of the prayer and it’s impact and the comfort it gave to a motherless, homeless teen.

Liz Murray’s book, “Breaking Night,” details her incredible young life, a life no child should have to live through, as a child of parents addicted to and dealing drugs, which resulted in her going out on the streets, which she saw as an escape and a step up from where she was. At age 15, she took control of what she could, and let go of trying to control what she couldn’t, and began her journey to Harvard and beyond. As she says in the video, “If I could just pick the things that I had some control over, and give the rest to something higher than myself, let it go, surrender to it, focus on what I could control — and for me that was education. It was school. I couldn’t change any of that, but you know what? I could show up at school everyday. … I could get not only a B, but I could get an A.”

The Serenity Prayer:

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Give Thanks in All Circumstances

I was following a thread through emails and online today, and ran across this Bible passage that was a good fit for Thanksgiving today. It’s from 1 Thessalonian 5.15-18:

  • “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Hope your day was fulfilling.

Joe Beene’s Inspiration: A Quadriplegic’s Story

Joe Beene (Photo courtesy Joe Beene)

It was 10 years ago, exactly, that Joe Beene’s world changed instantaneously. On Nov. 8, 2000, Joe was a 17-year-old, playing linebacker for his Permian High School football team in Odessa, Texas.

It was their final practice of the year before they were to meet their arch-rivals from across town, Odessa High School. Joe, a senior, made what seemed like a routine tackle. But the tackle was anything but routine. “I was tackling somebody, and my neck went back,” said Joe in a sort of matter-of-fact manner.

He remembers the time immediately after the tackle very well. “I stopped breathing. I was awake. I was wondering what was going on — you know, you can’t breathe.”

He knew something was wrong, but all he could do was lie there. “I couldn’t speak, but with my eyes I was saying, ‘Do something! Do something!’ I went without air for seven minutes. I should be dead or brain dead. But God kept me alive.”

Joe says he didn’t realize right away the seriousness of what had happened, “not until about three days later, after surgery. They fused C1 and C2 [vertebrae] together. I woke up after surgery and my dad told me what happened; I started crying — because I was thankful that God kept me alive and I wasn’t brain dead.”

What happened to Joe 10 years ago on that tackle left him paralyzed from the neck down. But what happened to Joe 10 years ago also turned his life on a path that led him closer to God and into a powerful relationship with Jesus. In the decade that’s gone by since his injury, he’s become an ordained minister, and he just got his degree this summer from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, where he majored in history and minored in business.

“It was amazing,” said Joe about the injury. “I should have died; I should have been brain dead.”

But he wasn’t. What overwhelmed Joe wasn’t the devastating injury, “it was that God had kept me alive for that long; maybe he had given me another chance at life. I started crying because I was thankful for that.”

Joe takes a larger view of the accident that left him a quadriplegic: “Everyone goes through hard things. It’s not like I’m an exception to the rule.”

We wanted to know — did he have strong faith before the injury? His answer was Continue reading “Joe Beene’s Inspiration: A Quadriplegic’s Story”

Faith, Focus and Follow-Through

Faith and fear. What’s the difference between the two? Faith is the polar opposite of fear. That’s easy.

Faith = Finding Answers In The Heart.
Fear = False Evidence Appearing Real.

What’s knocked you down in life? Have you been able to get back up, and continue on? Or have you struggled as a result? Have you gotten back up, shrugged off the blows and carried on with perseverance, stronger faith and determination? Or has fear gripped you and held you back? Made you tenuous in your walk through life?

Which has a hold of you right now?

The three “F”s of success are:

  • Faith
  • Focus
  • Follow-through

Let’s have Faith in those three “F”s. Let’s focus on that and follow through on setting and accomplishing goals. Great quote by Henry Ford: “If you think you can do a thing, or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”

It’s all about you and your approach. Keep going, don’t falter, have faith.

The Path to Walk

Proverbs 2 (New International Version):

6 – For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

7 – He holds victory in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,

8 – for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.

9 – Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.