Friday, September 16, 2022


I was blessed to attend the Life Celebration Service for my amazing Aunt Sue earlier this week in Richmond, VA. She went to be with the Lord just a few weeks before her 93rd birthday. She is THE BEST OF THE BEST! Her joy, her smile, her positivity, her zeal & zest for life, her unconditional love, her ability to see the best in everyone she met, and her unwavering commitment to Jesus is nothing less than legendary to me. It seems like whoever she met she could instantly see your full potential and instantly believed in you and immediately became your biggest fan. She couldn't see your failures or mistakes. She could only see who you were capable of becoming. Everyone needs a Sue Ward in their life! Along with her husband, my Uncle Joe (my Mom's brother who passed away from Alzheimer's about 10 years ago), they raised 6 fantastic boys - which is an amazing legacy & lifetime achievement by itself. In 1988, in my first week of college I tore my ACL the same day I made the cuts for the baseball team. I was devastated. My dream was shattered. It was the last time I ever played baseball. That same week I received a book in the mail from my Aunt & Uncle called "Holy Sweat" by Tim Hansel. It was about a Christian man in California who ran an adventure ministry. That book changed the trajectory of my life. I don't know if an adventure ministry would have ever been on my radar if they would have never sent that book AND if I hadn't blown out my knee to sideline me enough to stop being so physically active and actually sit down and read that book. From their perspective it may have been a kind, loving, & simple caring action to send that book, but it was one of the most significant moments of my life to receive that book. And that sums up Aunt Sue to me... she simply & authentically cared about people... she naturally gave to people her smile, her love, her belief, her emotional support, her infectious joy... it was just naturally who she is and what she does... but to be a recipient of such "simple" caring actions is so significant... it can be the "book in the mail" that changes a person's day, a person's week, a person's perspective, a person's life. I couldn't wait to see her at our family reunions, now I can't wait to see her in Heaven. God has probably already promoted her to head greeter in Heaven. Hers was a life well lived, and now she dances with Jesus... with an even greater joy than she oozed here on earth! You are one in a billion Aunt Sue! Thank you for a life well lived!