Tag Archives: MRO

Beautiful and Encouraging Words Just When You Need Them

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Beautiful and Encouraging Words Just When You Need Them

Enjoy the many beautiful words from ~Ann VosKamp with a little sprinkle here and there from my small view.

So just in case you have had a hard day…. because we all do every now and then, please dive in and give thanks for the timely words to follow.

And for our beloved MRO Ladies…… It brings my heart such joy to watch you quietly and significantly caring for your families in the daily and so often unseen. Yet your story is being written into the hearts and lives of every life you touch. You need to know how amazing those seemingly unimportant parts are and just how BIG things are to our God. #keepshining #keepthefaith 


“Have you been wondering, waiting and have doubt that the “Big Dream” you have been dreaming of and have prayed for will happen? Or at least should have by now? 

Maybe you await the peace and whole “Big Purpose” for why you are here to manifest itself in real time. That the awkward waiting would be gone and that you’d finally see that your life has made a real difference, you’d made a real mark, and that you really matter.
The real truth is….. You don’t have to worry: 

We all get to make one unforgettable mark. And every day, with every word, we get to decide: Do we mar the world, or mark the world?

Why in the world do we seem to disdain the small? It’s always the smallest strokes that add up to the greatest masterpieces.

Because the thing really is: Do we ever really know which mark we make — that will matter the most? The extraordinary things happen nowhere else but in the everyday and today can always be the beginning:
That card you signed and sealed and put in the mail, the way you smiled and nodded to the white-crowned woman bent over the still-green bananas, the way you dug around in the dirt and and left that seed or that gift of the knees and that prayer whispered for a stranger or that glass of water you handed to someone and winked because you just knew — 

You’ve got to remember: we don’t know when and how we are leaving the greatest marks on the world. It ALL matters.
Believe it: 

Every tremor of kindness might erupt in a miracle on the other side of the world.
And the only way to ever leave beauty marks on the world is with bits of yourself — Things of realest beauty don’t bring us glory — but Him glory.

Just For Today — take these words, words of Dag Hammarskjold, Secretary-General of the United Nations, words that you can take to the bank, take to eternity: 
“It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for … the masses.”
Christ left the ninety-nine for the one.
Where you are, with that one child, that one street, that one call, it is a noble, Christ-called thing. It only takes one person to change the world — and one individual, one soul, can be all your world.

Really, beautiful You: The most exquisite marks anyone makes with their life — are the marks done in secret. The mark that no one — but One — will ever see.

And tell yourself this when you feel forgotten and invisible and unimportant: 
But the wise are the hidden who hold out for heaven — and the applause that comes from God. This is to choose the far greater.
I know you’re brave … and you’re scared. Because you keep doing big things that seems so small and you wonder where all this is really going and you only get one life here —

And though you may get weary, you do hard things and you keep getting out of bed and this is always the hardest part — and you keep believing that Christ didn’t leave this world until He showed us His scars — and He won’t ever let you leave this world until you leave your most beautiful mark. To show Him.
So Just For Today — listen: you’ve got to keep going.

His Kingdom is Upside Down and in Him your part is large and lovely and needed and art.

So go get the milk and take out the trash and throw in the laundry and wave giddy to the neighbors because there is a plan and there is a purpose and there is a God in heaven who didn’t just ink you onto the palm of His hands but etched your name right into Himself with nails and He’s hasn’t just got your number, He’s got your heart.
He sees you, hidden in Him, and you aren’t ever forgotten because God can’t forget those right in Him. Keep doing, keep reaching, keep loving, keeping living fully in the moments we get to small things with great love as we hold onto the Cross.
So really — you’ve got to believe it for your 16 year-old-self and 56 year-old-self and for yourself right now: really, it’s all working out okay.

Because God’s writing your story and He never leaves you alone in your story, and His perfect love absorbs all your fear and His perfect grace carries all your burdens, and your story is a happily ever after because Christ bought your happily ever after so you always know how this story ends.

You’re going to be okay.

Dear beloved- tuck these truths away to read again whenever you need to know it again — and promise me, you’ll laugh and sing and dance a bit today?” Ann VosKamp

The Trinity

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It was our joy to share hearts in worship with Sandra McCracken at the 2015 MRO Ladies Summer Caution


She writes and sings songs that have been birthed out of earnest, deep places of communion with the Lord. Not perfection but only that which comes from an intimate relationship with our Lord!

You are the complete of all that we need Lord Jesus. This song wraps me up so close to your heart. This is where I know your love so very well.
We rest. 
We lift our eyes.

We pray.

Bind us together in Holy Love
The Trinity 
“Holy Father, Son and Spirit

Holy Communion Three in One

Come with your peace with your invitation

Bind us together in Holy love”
Sandra McCracken

You are the complete of all that we need Lord. 
We rest. 

We lift our eyes.

Bind us together in Holy Love
The Trinity 
“Holy Father, Son and Spirit

Holy Community Three in One

Come with your peace with your invitation

Bind us together in Holy love”
Sandra McCracken

https://youtu.be/dk28HVgQ0AE

Vicki 2, Cancer 1

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Love you Madi Vincent. Your mom will forever be alive in my heart and the lives of so many others. It feels like yesterday when Mason and your mom stopped by the motor home to tell us the news. We were stunned and my heart ached, our hearts beat together and we cried but still found hope.

I lost another dear friend the very year that cancer brought our family back to North Carolina. Monty’s dad battled Renal Cell cancer for three very short months. My beautiful friend Liz took her last breath on an unassuming Easter morning the same year. From death to life on the day we remember the resurrection.

These things I know:

Our Romans 8 road led us “home” and that had not been our plan. Life was significantly empty for a time and different but as we endured the pain our hearts found new life in relationships rekindled and the immeasurable wealth of God’s lavished love.

The road paved with so many hard things, hard firsts, that life could even go on as if nothing had happened was always awakened by the Spirit of God alive in us. The days grew more bearable where we did not cry with the same fervor but the relinquishing and surrender that came in the beautiful memories and stories sustained our family.

If there had been no cancer, there would have likely been no Motor Racing Outreach connection and our lives would have never been so entwined with such a pure love for each other. Mason and Vicki Vincent would become our greatest support, encouragers and friends. Our sweet Madi-girl and siblings are loved today as if we have shared a lifetime.

Madi, I feel her in your words, I remember her with great fondness for every time she spoke life into this old girls weary bones! Your mom and dad loved us for real and we loved and love them right back. A life of ministry can often isolate you from people and they refused to allow us to give in to such disengagement because their heart was to serve US. Amazing.

Thanks for keeping her passions alive because every seed that she planted in you is the fruit of her labor and that beloved of God remains her gift to us all. Your beautiful heart and words continue to carefully paint the Rembrandt that she remains as her legacy of faith in every life that she touched.

Be blessed today Vincent family. Vicki would be one praoud mama and I would give almost anything for one more conversation to let her know how very grateful I am for her inconditional love and friendship!

Vicki, you are with me always…….. You are loved! Mel

Source: Vicki 2, Cancer 1

2015 Better Half Dash

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Motor Racing Outreach

and

Charlotte Motor Speedway

present

The 5th Annual Better Half Dash

Nascar ladies will once again compete on October 8, 2015 in the 5th Annual Running of the Better Half Dash!

Please visit the Better Half Dash website and vote for your favorite driver! The better half that raises the most money gets to choose her starting position. And this we know! Track position is everything!!!

All money collected online will go directly to Motor Racing Outreach, a non-profit that provides care for the at-home and traveling NASCAR community through chaplaincy, trauma response, chapel services, women and children’s ministry, outreach ministry to the fans and much more! Check out more about the MRO Community Center family programming @ http://www.mrocommunitycenter.com

www.betterhalfdash.com #BetterHalfDash

2015 Better Half Dash Entrants

Jordin Fish girlfriend of Denny Hamlin (Cup Series)
Sandra Greenfield wife of Clay Greenfield (Truck Series)
Shannon Koch wife of Blake Koch Xfinity Series
Jenna Robinson wife of Clay Robinson Cup Series
Whitney Scott wife of Brian Scott Xfinity Series
Melanie Self wife of Monty Self MRO
Ashley Stremme wife of David Stremme Winner 3rd Annual BHD
Katelyn Sweet girlfriend of Kyle Larson Cup Series
Wendy Venturini wife of Jarrad Egert Cup Series
Kristen Yeley wife of JJ Yeley Cup Series Winner 4th Annual BHD

Check out a few BHD racing memories from 2014!!

https://player.vimeo.com/video/137944949“>2014 BHD Highlight Video

Trusting God and Finding The Good Path

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At this day’s end……

We all have stories of how life can challenge us, the valley of the shadow of death moments and the need to cling to something sure, true & trustworthy. The reminder that on life’s path, we are not alone!

That difficult journey you walked today: divorce, lost job, job searching, financial despair, separation, trust is broken, daily responsibilities, physical needs, cancer, emotional needs, sickness, infertility, brokenness, infidelity, spiritual needs, loneliness, anger, disease, fear…. That answer you received along that hard road that has washed over your life like a tidal wave…… “when sorrow like sea billows roll” Horatio Spafford

Life has messy places……filled with valley’s that challenge us to find the courage and a strength that is greater to hold on to and believe in.

And God is there. Oh, so very there……and I know it is true…….how??? Because I KNOW!

The platitudes about running to God in time of need diminishes the value of being held in complete surrender; to be fully loved and comforted by a gracious God.

God IS good. His love endures forever. God is trustworthy and sure and a place where grace is more than abundant and so very real. For every heart that aches this night with the guilt of overwhelm when your feet, though firmly planted, have caved in response to unexpected news……your are numbed and you will yourself to breathe…….

I stand with you tonight as my family faces a giant fight for life and prays hard and fast for supernatural answers, the miraculous, best case scenarios and a good path that will teach us about enduring love. We will look back and know more surely how to stand strong in HIS power and might.

I stood alongside of my mom this afternoon…..the words stung! Cancer, surgeon, treatment, serendipitous, benign, cancer found early, small, not much more we can say…. Yes? Words formed in my mind that I struggled to get my mouth to understand what to do next much less speak. Sure. We will make an appointment. Next Thursday. Perfect. Thank you? I think?

Monty Self and I are her caregivers…… My sister, Claudia does all she can to support us in caring for our mom. My flesh and heart shout in my spirit, we will just fix this. Let’s “get ‘er done”. Tonight my emotions have gone from there to…..oh sweet Lord, how am I, are we going to do this? I weep. Monty and I hold on tight to each other and we cry out to to the Lord.

“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!

But for right now, until completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:11-12

These things I know……

Trusting steadily in God…..Hoping unswervingly and walking held close by the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit! We will all together find the good path…..and God has already sprinkled moments Of grace…..

~”the smallest cancer I have ever seen.” Radiologist
~”we just happened upon the cancer behind the benign” “Serendipitous” No. A sovereign and providential God!!!
~”treatable according to her positive markers” I have no idea what that means,! #trusting #blindfaith
~”the best bad news that I can share with you”
~”Do you have a surgeon? Yes. Dr._________ ” Amazing, he is one of the three we use at the Women’s Cancer Center. Go God. He has performed all of my mom’s surgical procedures through the years
~ He can meet with you and an entire care team next Thursday. Your surgeon just “happens” to be available. Thank you Lord.
~”An answer to a long and fervent prayer answered. #thevalley The reminder that God sees, He knows, He hears the fervent prayer of His beloved and His perfect love is beyond any sliver of our ability to understand.

I will not belabor any more small and perfectly timed gifts of grace. Thanks for listening. Really.

Tonight, we come, all hearts encircled in prayer and with thanksgiving before the throne of God in prayer. We rest in the shelter of His wing.

#goodpath
Monday night, I literally cleared a path through the chaos of my office for the annual termite inspector to come, check and treat. I do not like disorder and this room is the arch nemesis of the chaos of traveling 24 weeks out of the year, dumping, retrieving, repeat……all in the name of Jesus and serving the NASCAR community.

This room haunts me as I prepare for the next season but I continue to learn about truly resting fully in today and responding to every day as it needs to be prioritized and this crazy space will be ignored and likely conquered before we leave for Daytona. #itwillnotbeatme

We rallied late to create a way for access to the entry to the crawl space under one portion of our house. I dreaded this moment. Yet Monty affirmed in my heart, that even in the chaos around me, the things that drive me crazy, frustrate and distract me were not a problem. He looked beyond this momentary, light affliction to say, “You have made a good path.”

Friend, tonight your messy place is very real. My heart longs to help carry your burden. And I will surely cherish your heart alongside of mine. Today, the Lord challenged me to remember and “as a way of reminder” to encourage you to find in each new day’s offering, the “good path” in the midst of life’s random and often unforeseen, unexpected pain, heartbreak, messy chaos and craziness.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Making my way, focused on the ‘good path’ today. Will you join me?

The waves and wind still know His name! It is well with my soul.

Coming to Cup of Grace Coffeehouse

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The annual MRO Summer Caution will be filled and brimming with grace in 2014. So grateful to provide this opportunity for ladies in NASCAR to gather for encouraging moments as we challenge hearts and provide a platform for service right where we live! Please consider joining us, as we present our broken beautiful lives to honor and serve God!!

mrocommunitycenter

We are so excited to finally share our Caution musician with you all!  We’re also giving away a CD – enter at the end of this post!

-drum roll please-

This summer, at the 2014 Cup of Grace Coffeehouse, we’re excited to welcome singer-songwriter Ellie Holcomb!

Her first full-length album, As Sure as the Sun, was released in February – it is beautifully written with Scripture woven into the melodies.  She has two previous EPs – Magnolia (2011) and With You Now (2013).  She has previously toured with her husband Drew, as part of the Americana rock band, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors.

“My heart with this music is to sing truth into the darkness. I know that the world can get pretty dark some days, and I’d love to be sending out songs like little campfires to light up the night. When I write, I am…

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My Brave Face

My Brave Face!!

Doing my best at growing into the blogger that the Lord would have me be!! Not sure that I have accomplished much to date but I am a willing learner, a seeker of growth in every area the Lord will speak to me, and my transparent self confesses that right now, I am being challenged in ways that I have not been challenged in a very long time…… Did I also say that I am the queen of run-on sentences? I write the way I talk….with WAY too many words.

Verbose defined:

~containing more words than necessary 

~wordy (a verbose reply)

~impaired by wordiness (verbose style) Ha!! Never thought of being verbose as an impairment!

~given to wordiness (a verbose orator)
Yes. My name is Melanie……

And it is true, I am verbose……

Condensing the “About Me” on the blog has been like a trip to the dentist!! But, alas, there is hope!!! Yep, I am getting a little LESS verbose with each new day!! Baby steps!!

I so appreciate my Dreams-Giver team for being kind when honest!! I receive your critiques with a grateful heart!!

So, here is my first attempt at the updated “About Me” Woo Hoo!!!

Thanks to our precious mentor, team-dreamer and friend, Holley Gerth. Thanks so much for choosing , believing and challenging me to put on my “big girl britches” and start dreaming again!!!!

Who am I?

I am intent on serving loving, leading and teaching others about the things of God. With great care, I open my home, heart and life to carry others life joys and burdens before the Lord. I want to hold your heart in my heart in hopes of lightening the load that you carry. I am trustworthy, a true friend; compassionate, tender, thoughtful and genuinely interested and invested in the road that you are on.

I am gathering the eternal joy flowers that never fade. And I want to get to know you.

I believe that God has created and called me to graciously support, inspire, lead and encourage women, children and families by sharing my simple journey of faith as I write, relate and teach from God’s Word.

I am currently loving families through life by teaching women and children the things of God and providing a “safe-haven” for our NASCAR family through the ministry of the Motor Racing Outreach Community Center. My husband, Monty and I, can be found 26 weeks of the year living in a motor home inside of a race track.

Praying that the simple moments in my life will encourage and “inspire hope” in YOUR little life’s place. While my life is often complicated, I pursue living simply……I am blessed to be Simply Living…..even in the middle of the chaos!!

P. S. I have the best job in NASCAR!! Really.

Heart Wide Open…..My Blog Journey

2012 Second Annual Better Half Dash Fundraiser

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2012 Better Half Dash

Better Half Dash Race Returns with Ladies of NASCAR During Bank of America 500 Week

Girls, have at it! When racing returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 11, the ladies of NASCAR will add their own element of speed, danger and fun to Bank of America 500 Week when they take to the frontstretch quarter-mile for the second annual Better Half Dash on Bojangles’ Pole Night.

The charity race, supporting Motor Racing Outreach (MRO) and Speedway Children’s Charities, will pit the women of NASCAR against each other in Bandolero race cars provided by U.S. Legend Cars International.

The entry list for this year’s Better Half Dash

Defending champion Jacquelyn Butler, fiancée of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan;

Michelle Gilliland, wife of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Gilliland;

Patricia Driscoll, girlfriend of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch;

Ashley Allgaier, wife of NASCAR Nationwide Series standout Justin Allgaier;

Kristen Yeley, wife of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver J.J. Yeley;

Amy Gordon, wife of NASCAR crew chief Todd Gordon;

Wendy Venturini, reporter for SPEED TV and wife of Jarrad Egert

Angie Dillner, wife of SPEED TV reporter Bob Dillner;

Lyn-Z Pastrana, wife of NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Travis Pastrana

Adriene Pattie, wife of Brian Pattie NASCAR Cup Series Crew Chief

Katrina Childers, wife of Rodney Childers NASCAR Sprint Cup Crew Chief Rodney Childers

Melanie Self, representing MRO;

 

“The Better Half Dash was so much fun last year,” Butler said. “It was a very successful and entertaining event for the fans and a great way to let everyone know how much MRO and Speedway Children’s Charities means to the NASCAR community. I am so excited for this years BHD race, we have some exciting things planned to make it even more entertaining for the fans.”

The Better Half Dash will be a 25-lap race, with a competition caution set for Lap 15. A random inversion will shake up the field before the final 10-lap shootout. Caution laps will not count. If necessary, there will be up to two chances at a green-white-checkered finish. The starting order for the race will be determined by qualifying on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
While the better half takes the wheel, her significant other will serve as crew chief and spotter for the race, but drivers and crew members are not permitted to make any engine, chassis or suspension modifications.

Butler said there is added pressuring to do well this year after her success at last year’s Better Half Dash race.

“This is the one thing David get’s to watch me be competitive at, and we are competitive people,” she said. “I want to make him proud and at least finish in the top three.”

The winning driver will receive $10,000 to be paid to the charity or charities of her choice.

Better Half Dash practice sessions are scheduled for Sept. 25 from 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. and before qualifying on Oct. 8, beginning at 5:30 p.m. p.m. All practice sessions will be held at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Updates on the race and entrants can be found at http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or motorracingoutreach.com or by following #BetterHalfDash on Twitter.

On a personal note:

Six years ago the Lord put on my heart to bring the women in NASCAR together for a fun and friendly racing competition as an opportunity to raise funds for Motor Racing Outreach. I love serving women and children in motorsports as the MRO Women and Children’s Ministry Coordinator. My husband Monty and I joined MRO in 2001 after his retirement from the U.S. Air Force. It is my honor to represent MRO in the race. Pay close attention, as I will once again represent a legendary race car driver in sponsor and car number. 🙂

A special thank you to Charlotte Motor Speedway, Legends Cars International & Racing Electronics for making all of this possible. If you would  like to donate, you can do so online at http://www.betterhalfdash.com

Spotter, Coach and Friend Matt Dillner

Christ Jesus Is Enough!!

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“I’m so grateful to Christ Jesus for making me adequate to do this work. He went out on a limb, you know, in trusting me with this ministry. The only credentials I brought to it were invective (bitter, insulting, and abusive) and arrogant. But I was treated mercifully.” 1 Timothy 1:12-13

When I consider God’s master plan through the ages, I am overwhelmed that He has invited me to join my heart with His. Humbled that He would allow me to be the bearer of the eternal message of love, mercy and grace.

Motor Racing Outreach (MRO) has been sharing God and Faith with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and other motor sports communities since 1988.

http://www.go2mro.com

My husband Monty and I have been blessed with the privilege of serving families in motor sports through the mobile MRO Community Center since 2001. On average, we travel 25 weekends during the year in order to provide care for men, women and children that travel weekly.  As MRO Women and Children’s Ministry Coordinator, I prepare my heart and home and invite families in motor sports in as our honored guests.

I so identify with Paul’s heart in this passage of Scripture. Some days I am reminded that there are more talented, qualified, capable, and educated women who could easily take my place but for “Christ Jesus making me adequate (enough) to do His work.” Amazing.

So, what’s YOUR story? Who has God made YOU adequate to serve, “to do this work”? What is YOUR hearts deepest need today? What lack do YOU need to surrender to Christ Jesus? I would love to hear from you so that I might encourage you on YOUR journey of faith. And as a way of reminder, the outcome is not dependent on your strength but in Christ alone.

“Grace mixed with faith and love poured over me and into me. And all because of Jesus. Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof….of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now He shows me (us)  off—evidence of His endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting Him forever. Deep honor and bright glory to the King of All Time— One God, Immortal, Invisible, ever and always. Oh, yes!
I’m passing this work on to you…….All those prayers are coming together now so you will do this well, fearless in your struggle, keeping a firm grip on your faith and on yourself.” 1 Timothy 1:14-19

Be encouraged friend. I want you to know that I am praying for you today. And just as Paul encouraged Timothy, I am standing on the sidelines cheering you on. Christ Jesus is true to His character. He is faithful to do His part. Now it’s our turn to find our rest in His strength, for His glory.

You are loved!!

Mel