Tag Archives: NASCAR

Planting Shade Trees Through Story

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For the ladies of @mrocommunitycenter that travel. We have learned many stories this year that tell of who God is and more specifically stories that like Sally Clarkson have transformed my life!

Stories about ordinary people that crossed my path over my husband’s 23 year U.S. Air Force career. People who lives out bold faith for me to model as I watched them in their ordinary lives “do small things with great love” Mother Teresa

This amazing work done by Sally Clarkson inspires us to look for life-stories along the pathway of faith and life. Each one of us making impact through our daily interaction with our circle of life.

You will love Sally’s beautiful heart! She is like us. Seekers empowered by the faith-filled life stories of others! Stories that are must shares and worthy of our attention.

So breathe this all in with me as I share excerpts from Sally Clarkson’s recent blog post- Planting Shade Trees Through Story

Here’s the link for the full blog post. Seriously a must read!!

https://www.storyformed.com/blog/2017/7/4/planting-shade-trees-through-story

“That’s when my heart skipped a beat, and God took the words of a comedian I don’t even remember and began to reveal to me His plan for the rest of my life…..” 

“Like shade trees, stories give us roots. Stories connect us to the world and show us what it’s like to be human… 

Stories also remind us of the hope we have in the Gospel. The story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is the most important and greatest story ever told….. 

Stories, like family histories and local lore, can also ground us in our sense of self, place, and community. Like shade trees…..

Stories inspire us to great heights.

Stories inspire us with the same sense of wonder and imagination. It is through story that we can catch a vision of all that is possible in our amazing world. 

We read of heroes, inventors, explorers, creators, and we began to think, “if he can do that, maybe I can too!” 

Like shade trees, stories offer protection. When we hear tales of tragic choices or misguided decisions and see the disastrous consequences, those lessons are stored up in our hearts and minds and, hopefully, keep us from making similar mistakes. 

Stories also offer protection in the way that they form and restore our souls. Tales abound of people who survive difficult situations and circumstances because they called on the power of stories in the midst of their trials to sustain their hope. 

Corrie Ten Boom, in her book The Hiding Place, tells about how, night after night, the Biblical stories sustained her and her fellow prisoners in the concentration camps. 

Like shade trees, stories yield fruit. The purpose of planting stories as shade trees in the hearts and minds of ourselves and our children is so that, ultimately, the seeds come to fruition. 

“Story-formed children grow to adulthood understanding that they have been specially formed by a loving God, destined for his kingdom, specially crafted to love, create, and conquer. They have reason to respond to their parents’ training, to work and learn, hope and know, because stories assure them that right choices and brave actions are the force behind happy endings.”  -Sarah Clarkson, Caught up in a Story

The fruits of the immigrant great-grandfather’s diligent work of planting shade trees were enjoyed by his descendants for generations. But he planted more than physical trees that day. 

He told a story, and that story made its way to me in that wooden pew 1000 miles and three generations away, on an ordinary Sunday evening. And a spiritual seed was sown in my heart that continues to grow to this day. He never saw the fruits of his labors. He never enjoyed the relief from the oppressive Texas heat. He never even knew that one day a woman in North Carolina would catch a lifelong vision as a result of his tale. 

But the fruit remains. Like him, as parents we may never see the fruits of our labors as we diligently work to surround our children with the very best stories, in hopes that the stories will shape them. 

“Blessed is the one…[whose] delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1

Excerpt from blog post by Sally Clarkson @ Story Formed Blog

https://www.storyformed.com/blog/2017/7/4/planting-shade-trees-through-story

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

Faith In NASCAR on Dirty Mo Radio with Kelley Earnhardt Miller

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Faith In NASCAR on Dirty Mo Radio with Kelley Earnhardt Miller

http://www.dalejr.com/radio/kelley/default.aspx

Thanks so much Kelley K Earnhardt @earnhardtkelley for the time, love and care that you took in opening your heart to share the unassuming role of this small heart. I love my job. I am passionate about the mission of Motor Racing Outreach and serving NASCAR families but I cringed inside when I left wondering if anything that was recorded would be salvageable. Ugh. Tonight when I listened to the beautiful compilation of our many conversations, I am overwhelmed that you found such beauty in all of my endless ramblings. I am the interviewers worst nightmare for a concise and short sound bite. But oh the stories my heart longs to tell of God’s beauty, grace, love and faithfulness in my life.

Monty and I have spent the entirety of our 34 1/2 years of marriage finding joy in opening our home to serve men, women, children and families. Tonight I am humbled In light of every amazing heart that spends time sharing with you @ Dirty Mo Radio. http://www.dalejr.com The Fast Lane Family show reminds me of how very small I am and how great a God who uses surrendered hearts to give their lives to the Lord’s service for the greater good of the kingdom of God.

Motor Racing Outreach has blessed us with the opportunity to live in community, encourage the faint of heart, speak life into broken lives, live alongside of the people we serve, fall in love with every heart, laughing and crying together, celebrating all things glorious and good related to success in NASCAR and hold each other tight in prayer on the hard days..But above all of that which is so wonderful, we have the freedom to openly share our faith in Jesus Christ. Faithfully we offer the same opportunity to hearts prepared to hear the message of the Gospel and receive the free gift of eternal life that was secured for all of mankind through the birth. life, death and resurrection of Christ.

My heart swells with such fullness of joy when I reflect on all the years of life shared with our NASCAR family. We have been honored to share so many beautiful moments as we have witnessed the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in the lives surrendered their to be in a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. Heaven will tell of the work that the Lord continues to so quietly do day in and day out. Thanks to every person that has opened their hearts to love us so real.

My sincere gratitude for creating a glimpse into life at-track. Many blessings sweet friend for your love and support through the years. God has been very good to us!

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

1st Annual MRO High Heel Dash at Charlotte Motor Speedway

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High Heel Dash Details:

Who: NASCAR Ladies 

What: 50 yard 3″ High Heel Shoe run down pit road

When: Liftmaster Pole Night Thursday, May 21, 2015  just before Cup Qualifying

Where: Charlotte Motor Speedway

Why: MRO Fundraiser and a night for NASCAR ladies to shine!! 

All ladies participating will donate their shoes to be auctioned off.  Proceeds will go to MRO. 

Official High Heel Dash Starters

Ingrid, Ella and Leo Gordon

Visit website to donate to your favorite runner.

The winner will receive a trophy, sash and crown

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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