Faith Life, March 2017

The Last Mile

The Last Mile

Why am I sick? Why don’t I feel fulfilled? Why am I struggling through life? Have you ever wrestled with questions like these?

Life is hard, even for Christians, and when life doesn’t seem to be going the way we want it to or thought it would, it’s natural to wonder why. Is God upset with me? Did I do something wrong?

For many of us, it is easier to see our flaws than to believe that our lives serve a purpose. It is easier for us to ask forgiveness and accept correction from God than it is to believe that He wants to (and can) bless us even in the midst of our struggles. The devil has millions of Christians believing that they aren’t worthy of the blessings of God. And when bad things happen to us, it’s like an “I told you so.” But today God wants to exchange the devil’s “I told you so” for one of His own.

In John chapter 9, Jesus and his disciples came across a man whowas blind from birth. In verse 2, his disciples ask, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

It may not seem fair that part of this man’s journey in life was to be blind for a while so that God could be glorified by healing him, but the man gained much more than his eyesight that day. He became a believer and gained eternal life (John 9:38). Have you ever considered that had his trials not occurred, perhaps he would have had his eyesight, but not his salvation?

Sometimes our struggles are indeed caused by our own sins or the sins of others, but at other times, they are meant to be a part of our journey so that God can be glorified and we can be blessed.

In June of 2012, my life changed. It started with God telling me to give my truck away to a stranger in a donut star parking lot. God then had me sell my shares and resign as Chief Operating Officer of one of the fastest growing IT firms in the country and go into full-time ministry instead. It’s been an incredibly hard journey. My wife and I moved from a place of comfort to a place of not being sure how we would pay the bills. But God has taught us to trust Him with everything. God has taught us to get up every day believing that we are “in the last mile” and the blessing is on its way.


“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

The blind man in John chapter 9 had no idea when he woke up that day that a miracle would be done in his life. He had no idea that what he had longed for his entire life would actually come to pass. Jesus healed him that day and made a point to his disciples and to us — God has a plan and a blessing for each of us, but we must trust Him to receive it. It’s time to stop striving and struggling through life trying to make it what you want it to be. Your Father, the creator of the universe, wants you to trust Him and surrender control so that He can take care of you and show you the purpose and blessings He has for you.

The next time you’re in a situation where things don’t feel good, where you see no way out, and you need a miracle — dare to believe that you’re in the last mile. Live every day expecting the miracle, anticipating the breakthrough, acknowledging, trusting, and resting in the fact that God is and His promises are true. It’s time to let go and see the goodness of God.


Michael Phillips was once the owner and COO of one of the fastest growing IT firms in the country. But in June of 2012, in response to what he describes as a “calling from God,” he walked away from his business and gave his truck away to a stranger in a donut store parking lot. “I thought I was happy,” he said, “but it wasn’t until I went ‘all in’ that real life began.”
Michael’s story is climbing the best seller charts at Amazon, but he says the book isn’t about his journey. It’s about yours. Learn more and get the book at

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March 2017, Reading For Life

A Review of Just Choose


A Review of
Just Choose

Written by Michael Phillips

Reviewed by Kelli M. Knight

To live the life God wants one to live is a goal many seek. However, at times, it is difficult to know if we are in fact, living the life prescribed by God. There are distractions, there are questions, there is the busyness of life, and there is impatience when results aren’t obvious and the fruits of our labor take days, months, or years to see.

Michael Phillips has written a guide, using his own life as an example, showing how to find what God is asking and how to choose to live that life. The book is a quick and simple read; just about anyone can get through it within a couple of hours. It’s easy to relate to as the trials and sufferings he writes about are similar to ones many people undergo. He uses his experiences to teach methods that disarm the enemy, the devil, who wants the church to lose sight of God.

The book is written as a weapon to disable the enemy and bring people into being one in Christ.

Just Choose is great for anyone, whether a person’s life isn’t going “as planned” or if a person has life “on track” but feels something is missing. Michael’s writings can help to filter out the distractions making it easier to choose the path God has planned.

Phillips is the founder and President of the All In Movement, a Christian ministry dedicated to refreshing and reigniting the heart of the church.

Just Choose can be found at


Kelli is the owner of illuminated Designs Studio, specializing in graphic design services. She received her Liberal arts degree from LSU and has lived in Baton Rouge for the majority of her life. Kelli loves great stories, so reading and writing have always been passions of hers. over the course of her career she has written for several publications throughout Southeast Lousiana. Find her on facebook:

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Healthy Life, March 2017

RESEARCHING a Better Way to Predict Health Risks

by Dr. Steven Heymsfield

Researching a Better Way to Predict Health Risks

What if doctors could predict your risk of developing disease simply by evaluating your body shape?

That’s a real possibility being investigated through the Shape Up research study at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

“Everybody has a unique body shape,” begins Dr. Steven Heymsfield, the study’s principal investigator. “That shape is related to your body composition—how much muscle, fat and bone density you have. We also know body shape and composition are related to health risk.”

While the height and weight measures that combine to determine the body mass index (BMI) are still important, there are a lot of variations within those parameters.

For example, even though two women are both 5-foot-6-inches tall and weigh 130 pounds, one person might have longer legs, a smaller waist circumference or carry more weight in a certain part of her body, such as the midsection or posterior.

Researchers seek to understand the health implications of those differences. “People have always known that within the same height and weight class there are significant differences with regard to health, but we haven’t always been able to quantify it very well,” he says.

The Shape Up research study explores that correlation between body shape and health by cross-referencing basic clinical testing such as blood tests with new technology that includes 3-dimensional imaging and DEXA scans, which measure muscle, bone and fat.

“The plan is to link the hundreds of shape measures we get from participants to their actual DEXA scan. And, that will tell us their body composition,” explains Dr. Heymsfield.

“We’ll be able to link their cholesterol levels to their body shape. We’ll also look at blood sugar, which measures insulin resistance and is a predictor of diabetes down the line.”

Once certain factors are known to be significant predictors of disease, a scale of risk can be developed. Eventually, doctors might use that knowledge in engaging earlier strategies to help slow the onset of disease—or even prevent it all together—in individuals or even entire populations.

The ability to reference a guide that relates body shape to health risk is particularly relevant since sophisticated scanners are becoming more affordable and accessible in doctors’ offices and even health clubs.

The old, big, expensive high-tech scanners have shrunk both in cost and in size. Now, the same 3-D imaging programs that allow Internet retailers to measure clients by cell phone and make custom clothing are being adapted for medical imaging.

While the 3-D technology that can produce customized blue jeans is also helping determine whether physical characteristics can predict the onset of disease, the makeup of genes also plays a major role in the next phase of the study.

“Your shape is determined by your lifestyle and your genes,” Heymsfield explains. “Whether you’re tall or short, hair color, eye color—everything about you—is pretty genetically related in our culture. In the future, we hope to analyze that genetic material and find out what genes influence body shape.”

The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases provided Pennington Biomedical a $4 million grant for the Shape Up study for adults and a $3 million grant for a future work extending the Shape Up study to children.

The Shape Up Adults study is currently looking for people to join in this research. For more information, call 225-763-2602 or visit


Dr. Heymsfield’s research focuses primarily on human obesity, including energy balance regulation, weight loss treatments, co-morbidity effects, and development of related mathematical models. He also has a long term interest in the development of methods for evaluating body composition and the application of new technologies such as fMRI and PET to the study of human metabolism.
He is a graduate of Hunter College, City University of New York, B.A. Chemistry: 1962-1966
Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, M.D. 1969-1971

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Faith Life, March 2017

Day by Day: Life, Liberty, and Joy.

Day by Day: Life, Liberty, and Joy.

An excerpt from the 90-day devotional book by Trailon D. Johnson

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

St. Augustine of Hippo once penned, “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in thee.” Or as Jeremiah asserts, the heart is desperately sick because it is so deceitful. The purpose of this book is to offer God’s “prescription” for healing our sick hearts—his Holy word. Only by reading and applying God’s word are we able to receive healing while striving to become more like Jesus. A closer look at this amazing organ, the heart, yields deep insights when viewed through the lens of God’s precious pearls of wisdom.

The heart is one of the most vital and essential organs of the human body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 610,000 people die every year due to heart disease. More specifically, one in every four deaths is attributed to heart disease. In fact, heart disease is recorded as the leading cause of death in both men and women. This is an epidemic, not only from a medical standpoint, but also from a spiritual perspective.

Our world is plagued with spiritual heart disease; people suffer, barely holding on to life. Many carry the title “Christian” but live in bondage to sin, unsure of how to obtain the authentic, life-altering freedom found only in Christ. Some people live with heart blockages, such as holding on to past hurts, pains, regrets, neglecting purity and living in bondage to a culture steeped in moral relativism.

As a result, our identities, marriages, relationships, and our churches are struggling to survive and are in critical condition. When living in this manner with sin as our master, we are prone to a spiritual heart attack, and this type of lifestyle will eventually become detrimental to our walk with the Lord.

One of the biggest challenges facing our world is narcissism. There is a constant drive and pursuit of OUR dreams, desires, and passions fueled by feelings that can deceive. This daily pursuit of “happiness,” can lead to the loss of life, liberty and joy found only in Jesus Christ. When you live with this truth, the ultimate goal is not to produce an existential reality, but to put your life in the hands of the one who created you in his image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27). Life demands so much from us, but becoming too busy “doing” leads to a failure to “be.”

However, there is good news: when you turn your life over to Christ and submit to his word, he takes the scalpel and becomes your heart surgeon. He performs open heart surgery and begins to circumcise your heart and remove the blockages so that it can function the way God designed. Finding rest for our souls is essential, and that can happen only when we walk daily with Jesus. The prophet Jeremiah says, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls’” (Jer 6:16). It is my prayer that this daily devotional will serve as a supplement to your daily intake of God’s word; moreover, may it be the springboard that propels you to hunger for God’s word and, consequently, to live a fruitful life for the glory of God.

“Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.” (Deuteronomy 10:15-16)

Trey's Photo

For more information or to schedule speaking engagements visit the website at or email

March 2017, Publisher's Letter

Publisher’s LETTER

beth This month’s fruit of the spirit: peace.

As I write I feel very little of it. Storms rage around me. There is deep hurt in my family. There are decisions to be made in my work that are difficult. Key relationships need healing. There have been days when doing just what must be done is all I could do. Where is my peace?
No Christian is free of pain. Nor does anyone feel peaceful all the time. In seasons of difficulty, we must remember that our feelings will not only fail us, but can often mislead us. In Jeremiah, the Bible explains. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). We must understand peace from the Bible’s perspective to have peace in our lives.

Peace is a promise. Ephesians 2:14 says, “For he himself is our peace…”  We may not feel peaceful, but if we are in Christ, He is our peace. His very presence supersedes any situation and covers the trials we face.  Therefore, we must practice his Presence daily. One way to do that is to say, as needed, “He himself is my peace.” Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Peace requires perseverance. Hebrews 12:1 says to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” You have a race marked out for you. As do I. Each life has a divine purpose. We can neither give up nor let any lack of peace interrupt our commitment to God’s call on our life. We persevere because He persevered. Period.

Peace has a pathway. Philippians 4:6 gives a strong directive: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  The doorway to peace is thanksgiving. If peace is lacking, gratitude is lacking. Thanksgiving comes before presenting our requests to God. We don’t wait until we feel thankful, we offer thanks in obedience to the Word. That is the promised pathway to peace.

Peace requires people. Getting wise counsel can mean reaching out to a pastor or counselor to help overcome issues that continue to cloud your faith. When I struggle over and over with an issue, I see that as God saying, “you need to deal with this.” That is when I need to talk to someone who can help. That person must be someone knowledgeable and proven. Don’t ask for wisdom from someone who is unwise. Be careful and prayerful.

When I’m not feeling peaceful, it’s up to me to get on my knees, recall Scriptures and say them out loud. I must choose obedience to His word over my circumstances. It’s much easier to wallow in worry and vent to others about our struggles. Yet even our words should be tempered to match our faith. We can’t speak one thing and strive to believe something else.

Peace. It’s a fruit of the Spirit, rightfully ours! It’s a fact, not a feeling.


Cover Story, March 2017

ALEX LANGE – Playing With A Purpose


Playing with a Purpose

Story by Randy Rosetta and Photos by Beth Townsend

By its very nature, baseball involves individual effort – and personal excellence – for team success. By its very nature, baseball involves individual effort – and personal excellence – for team success. Nowhere is that more evident than in the pitcher’s role. When he climbs onto the mound in the middle of the field, his delivery has an critical impact on the way the game will unfold: one pitch, one batter, one inning at a time. It’s a daunting responsibility. But LSU star pitcher Alex Lange never considers himself alone when he takes the ball.

Lange began his junior – and likely final – season for the Tigers on Feb. 17. He drew a cross in the dirt of the mound, took off his cap several times and said a quick prayer, a practice that marked each start in his college career. When he exited the field, he thrust his arms upward. The symbolic gestures are tributes to the deep faith that his mother, Renee’ Lange, helped instill in him – a powerful thread that ties all things together for the 21-year-old pitcher.

“It’s the foundation of everything there is in the world today,” Lange said of his faith. “It’s how the world came to be. It’s who we are as Christians, to believe in the Lord, and everything I have
today is because of Him. And I am eternally grateful for that. I’m undeserving, but it’s awesome the kindness Jesus has for us.”
“I just try to integrate it in every part of life. The Bible talks about always helping others and honoring the Lord in everything you do. There’s no difference on the field,” he said.

“You can be competitive but still honor the Lord. You don’t have to be the guy that’s dropping F-bombs. You can be a fiery competitor and a fiery guy and a guy that gets the job done and still honor the Lord in a respectful manner and a Christian way. That’s what I try to do.”

Lange’s faith journey began in earnest when he was a teenager at Lee’s Summit West High School in suburban Kansas City. He had observed churches of different denominations, an eye-opening experience that his mother, Renee’, encouraged. Although he immediately bought into the concept of salvation – loving Jesus and all He stands for – Lange concedes that he had not fully embraced “the whole spiritual thing.”
“I knew who Christ was, but I hadn’t been following Him,” Lange said. “I was stumbling in the dark.” During a Fellowship of Christian Athletes event in high school, Lange began to focus on Christ.

In two seasons, Alex Lange has compiled a 20-4 record to carve a niche as one of the best pitchers in the country.

“We were sitting there and one of my friends was there next to me,” he said. “We had a pastor come in, and we played games and hung out. We were sitting there and bowed our heads in prayer, and (the pastor) opened up with, ‘I’d just like to invite anyone who doesn’t know the Lord today to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. Just raise your hand.’ I was kind of hesitant, and my friend grabbed my hand and raised it, and that’s the day I accepted the Lord. It was a Tuesday morning my sophomore year.”
“That whole day was just different,” Lange said. “I walked around with my shoulders high and had a big smile on my face. It was just different. That’s kind of the way I’ve felt ever since.”
Lange credits his mother for nurturing his faith and abilities. “I wouldn’t be here without her,” he said. “She raised me well, and I am thankful for her. I am thankful that the Lord used her to help me grow and continue to grow and lay the foundation in college and become my own man. Hopefully, when I have kids I can do the same thing.”
“From the first time I sat down and spoke with Alex, it was clear to me that he was a special person,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “His maturity, his confidence and just the way he carries himself – those are things that take a lot of guys a while to develop when they get to college. Alex had all of those when I met him – when he was 16 years old – and a lot of that is a credit to his mother.”
“When you are in this profession, you really try hard to judge the kid for who he is and not for what his upbringing was, and that works in both directions,” Mainieri said. “With a young man like Alex, after you get to know him, you see the influence his mother has had on    him and you see how he developed the way he did.”
Simply put, Renee Lange and her son believe they were meant to be mother and son, and they live their lives that way. She adopted Lange when he was 1 day old and she was a 31-year-old who had been told she could not bear children of her own. What biology didn’t create, love for each other and a strongly shared faith have forged. At the age of six, his parents divorced, and Lange and his mother established a home in Kansas City.
Today, Lange does not sit back and wait for people to recognize what God and faith mean to him. “Some people shun Christians and the Christian lifestyle,” Lange said. “It’s too over the top, it’s too much. It’s too much if you’re not willing to fight for what you believe in and stay strong. I am not going to sit here and say I’m a perfect Christian – I’m far from it. I sin every day. We’re all sinners…just learn from your mistakes and continue to grow in your faith and get better at it every day like you would a sport or school or piano.”
Lange’s practice of wearing his religion on his baseball sleeve is not unique. While it’s perhaps not in vogue, other players have been bold in their witness, including former teammate Jake Fraley.
A devout Catholic, Fraley never hesitated to profess his beliefs to teammates. Not surprisingly, Fraley and Lange quickly established a strong bond when Lange was a freshman in 2015. That example stuck with Lange, who has stepped into the role Fraley vacated as the de facto spiritual leader for the Tigers.
“Everyone has their own beliefs and everyone is entitled to their own opinions,” Lange said. He makes a point of not criticizing others’ beliefs. “For me, I just want to put my arm around a guy and say, ‘This is what Jesus can do for you. He gives forgiveness for everybody. There is forgiveness for your sin.’ If that is bringing them to a Bible study or just talking to them or whatever that is, there is a sense that they can jump on board if they want to.”
“Obviously, I’d like 35 guys in that locker room pointed in the same direction, but that’s not always the case,” Lange said. “So, you just kind of have to balance it and know who your friends are; know who you can align yourself with that feel the same way and believe in the same thing.”
Whether teammates – or anyone else – chooses to follow, Lange said he is going to keep doing what he does. So, whenever he steps on the mound this season, he’ll draw that cross. He’ll take off his cap and say a quick prayer. And when his outing is over, he will look skyward, lift his arms and say thanks.
“It is a reminder of who I am playing for and what it is (the cross). That’s why I have a tattoo on my arm, a tattoo on my chest. The cross is always a reminder, so if one person every game sees that, then I get 18 people to reach out and be curious about what Jesus and the Lord can do for them, then I feel accomplished,” he said.

“I look up and I just thank the Lord for the trials and tribulations or the successes of that day. The Bible talks about giving thanks no matter what. If the worst thing that’s going to happen to me is going out and giving up five runs in 4 innings that day, that’s OK with me because that’s His plan. I’m going to follow his plan. I’m not going to try to deviate from his plan and create my own plan because then I am not living through Him. It is a reminder to thank Him for allowing me to be out there and doing something I love, because I know without Him it would be nothing.”
“Every time I go out there I want to shine for Him, shine for the Lord, show that it’s not about me,” Lange said. It’s about what Jesus can do for us and (to) honor Him through my playing.”

Randy Rosetta has been a journalist for 30-plus years, primarily covering sports but dabbling in news and feature coverage on a freelance basis. A proud Kansas native, Rosetta is currently the Sports Editor of the Livingston Parish News, the largest non-daily newspaper in Louisiana, and he is a member of Istrouma Baptist. He and wife Jenny Rosetta, an instructional specialist in the EBR school district, have been married 18½ years and are the proud parents of 17-year-old Mallory, a junior at Parkview Baptist, and 9-year-old Darby, a 3rd grader at LaSalle Elementary

Creative LIFE, March 2017

Randell Henry

Randell Henry

by Sharon Furrate Bailey

Art – A Collaboration between God and the Artist
Copy of Photos-Randell Henry 937
Henry stands with his painting “Musical Connections” Acrylic/Oil sticks on Canvas.

Q: When did you first discover you were an artist? 
A: In elementary school, I was always finding ways to use creativity in making items from wood, metal and various materials that I would find lying around. I used objects from broken toys and turned them into something new. During this time I began looking at drawings and paintings in books and magazines. I used my free time in class making drawings and paintings. In 6th grade, Mrs. Richardson came to the class one day a week to teach art. I sat right next to her as the class watched her make pastel paintings. She had a way of using color on paper that grabbed my attention. That was my “Aha” moment when I decided to become an artist. I spent 7th through 12th grade taking art and hanging out in school and public libraries studying art books and discovering famous artists around the world.

Q:  What would you say is your artist statement … why you create?
A: I make works of art because I believe that creativity comes from God. God keeps me in a creative spirit and I need to fulfill that mission of creating art. It is a gift that brings joy to people.

Q: Do you feel painting is a spiritual gift?
A:  I believe that creativity itself is a spiritual gift. It springs from a creative spirit that is touched by God. Just take a look at all of the creativity in the natural world — the earth and the environment. Humans are on a higher level, so certainly I believe that the ability to paint is my gift from God. It is as if God is saying, “You go on and create on the highest level in your own way and show the power of God through you.”

Q: Do you ever feel God’s presence when painting?
A: When I am working on paintings, I feel a connection to God, the greatest creator. Through creativity, I feel that I am walking and talking to God as I work on paintings. Through the stillness and quiet, I feel the presence of God and I feel thankful that Jesus came and lives through me.

Q: You are a professor at Southern University. How long have you been teaching there and sharing your gift with others?
A:  I had a one-year post at Southern University, teaching art in 1987-88. Over the next five years, I worked on paintings and showed my works in galleries. In 1991, I had a big exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art. In 1993, after receiving a call from (chairperson) Rebecca Cureau, I started teaching at Southern University again. I have been there nearly 25 years.

“Saturday Night” Mixed Media Collage on Canvas.

Q:  Share anything you would like our readers to know about your journey.
A: I began walking with God as a child. My parents brought us to church and Sunday school. Now, as an adult, I continue to walk with the Lord and worship Jesus Christ at Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church in Scotlandville. I grew up working in the church, too. My faith continues to grow.

However, there was a particular time in my life around 1981 that will always stand out in my mind. My desire at the time was to have a big exhibition in New Orleans. I found myself standing in front of one of the most prominent galleries in the city, Nahan Gallery, after spending the day seeking a gallery to show my work. I decided to make this my last stop. I asked God to make it possible for me to show there. Later, I received a call from the owner, Kenneth Nahan, and he liked my work. In 1982, I became the first unknown artist to have a big, one-man show there. My exhibition followed a Picasso exhibition.

In the early 1990’s I wanted to show my works in the New Orleans Museum of Art. I prayed that God would make that happen. In 1991, I heard from the director of NOMA, E. John Bullard, and I was able to arrange an exhibition of my large paintings.  And, most recently, I prayed for God to allow my artwork to be shown in New York City.

“The Amazing Queen of Hearts” Scope, New York International Contemporary Art Show.

Last year, I showed a large painting in an exhibition there. I mentioned to the curator that it would be wonderful if a New York Times art critic could see the exhibition. I prayed that the exhibition would attract the attention of a New York Times critic. Just after the show ended, I received an email from the curator letting me know that just as he was about to close the gallery, in walked Roberta Smith, the lead New York Times art critic who selected my painting as her favorite. The email included a photograph of her standing in front of my painting.  “Through faith in God all things are possible” (Luke 1:37). As you can see, I believe God heard the desires of my heart and answers my prayers.

Randell Henry may be contacted via email at or you may find him on Facebook.

March 2017, Millennial Life

Millennials and The Big 3

Millennials and The Big 3

by Trapper S. Kinchen

The milestones we reach on the path of self-discovery remind us how far we’ve come. Of all the goals we meet on life’s journey, few are more significant or intimidating than “The Big 3.” They are the holy trinity of personal growth—leaving home, forming adult relationships, and pursuing a career—and, like each generation before us, we must rely on our faith in order to move out, move on, and move forward.

Moving Out
“I thought being alone meant that I would be lonely.” –Keli Hayden

According to Business Insider, 32% of people eighteen to thirty-four live with their parents, and—when you first join the workforce—staying at home can be a great way to build financial momentum. However, for many millennials, living with family sometimes leads to low self-esteem.

Until recently, twenty-six-year-old Keli Hayden was one of the 32% still in the nest. She graduated from Southeastern in 2012, and worked several small jobs before taking her current position a year and a half ago. Yet, in spite of her many successes, she was hesitant to live alone.

In January, she decided it was time to strike out on her own. So, with all her belongings loaded into the bed of a pickup, she moved into a small apartment about fifteen minutes away from her childhood home. It was a hasty but necessary transition. She said, “I needed a chance to get to know myself, all by myself.”

Hayden was nervous about being alone, but she pushed her insecurity aside and took a leap of faith. Despite her initial hesitation, she had no trouble adapting to life on her own. She said, “I’ve been completely surprised at how okay I am just spending time with myself. I thought that being alone meant I would be lonely, but that isn’t true at all.”
Her new address has become a safe haven. Hayden is now able, for the first time, to do the sort of peaceful soul-searching that leads to personal growth. She said, “I find that I’m devoting a little more time to regularly reading my Bible. It used to be difficult for me to be alone in the quiet. I was afraid of it, but now, I find it relaxing.”

Hayden’s decision to be independent is the most positive choice she’s ever made. Not only has it given her room to breath, but it’s also allowed her to mature. She said, “It has been a great opportunity for me to trust myself, and being self-reliant has been great for my confidence.”

Many millennials, like Hayden, battle uncertainty, but leaving home is a decision we all must eventually make. Let the Lord guide you, and listen to the urging of the Holy Spirit. If fear is holding you back, consider following Hayden’s lead, and let faith guide you to independence.



Moving On
“I used to be codependent.” –Cara Turnage

Millennials are slowly starting to settle down. Indeed, many of us are already well on our way to finding true love, and that pursuit often leads to unexpected self-discovery. Our strengths, flaws and insecurities are easily exposed when we open ourselves up to someone else. So, learning how to cultivate authentic relationships is one of the most important parts of growing up.

Cara Turnage is a real-life example of how searching for romance can lead to personal growth. After nearly a decade of dating, she recently became engaged to her longtime boyfriend. She’s twenty-four, and despite her relative youth, has devoted a tremendous amount of time and effort to building a strong romantic relationship.

When she first started dating, Turnage said, “I was very codependent.” She formed unhealthy attachments, and often found herself being needy. However, once she began spending time with her now-fiancé, she started doing some deep self-reflecting.

Initially, Turnage and her fiancé fell into a destructive pattern of separating and getting back together. Then, after realizing their relationship was unstable, they began working on themselves independently. He joined the military and served in Afghanistan, and she learned to appreciate herself as an individual.

After taking some time away from dating, Turnage shed her codependence. She said, “I grew out of it. A lot of that has to do with finding peace. His deployment to Afghanistan taught me how to be totally by myself. It was such a healthy period of self-discovery.” She is now entirely comfortable being alone, and that has helped her create a healthier partnership with her fiancé.

They will be married this April Fools’ Day in front of a small group of family and close friends. Although much thought has gone into planning the wedding, the bulk of Turnage’s energy has been dedicated to preparing herself for matrimony. She is completely focused on building a marriage based on communication and mutual respect, rather than concentrating all her efforts on the ceremony.
There’s a great deal of truth in the saying, “You can only live with someone else after you’ve learned to live with yourself.” God wants us to be whole, happy and healthy individuals, and learning how to be better on our own positively impacts our relationships. It is smart to approach a partnership the way Turnage has, with a focus on communication, understanding and empathy.

Moving Forward
“There’s more to being alive than working nine to five.” –Ross Kinchen

Most of us are just beginning to enter the job market, and according to Time, there are more than 55 million millennials currently active in the American workforce. So, whether you’re searching for a job or trying to start a life-long profession, you probably realize how much is at stake. It might seem hard to settle on a career path when your future happiness hangs in the balance, but making the right choice is easier than you think.

My brother, Ross Kinchen, is twenty-four years old and a recent college graduate. Last August, he started working for a land surveying company in Houma, and even though he’s still a rookie, he has developed a real passion for his work.

Most people will tell you that loving your job and achieving long-term success go hand in hand, and they’re right. It has been proven that when you pursue your passion, you’re more likely to experience career fulfillment. And workplace satisfaction is particularly important when you’re first getting started.

Of course, finding fulfillment through employment does not always translate into a large paycheck or plenty of time off. But, if you enjoy what you do, work is often its own reward. Kinchen said, “The thought, ‘Wow, I have to do this for the rest of my life’ sometimes crosses my mind, but I’m constantly reminded of how much I love what I do.”

Finding an ideal occupation can be a long process, so don’t be afraid to explore every opportunity that presents itself. Before you settle into something, be sure you’ve investigated your options. Kinchen said, “You’ve got to begin somewhere, so just start trying things out.” Be curious, put forth as much effort as possible, and, before you know it, you’ll stumble onto a job that brings you joy.

For Kinchen, one of the greatest rewards of hard work is feeling purposeful. He said, “Being personally and financially independent is priceless. It’s also a huge self-esteem booster.” Responsibility, personal growth and peace are all interconnected, so the more we trust ourselves, the more mature we become.

It’s also important to bear in mind that having an active career is only a one part of leading a full life. Kinchen says, “There’s more to being alive than working nine to five.” He’s right. After all, the Lord designed us to be both industrious and multidimensional. He wants us to have fun, serve others, and do the best we can in all aspects of our lives.

No matter where you might be in the process of tackling “The Big 3,” remember there is no greater ally or advisor than the Lord. Self-doubt, anxiety and fear of the unknown will surely do their best to keep you from experiencing the kind of self-discovery God has in store for you. But nothing can hold you back when you trust yourself and rely on faith. You are capable of doing anything well, so long as you’re determined.

TrapperHeadshotTrapper was born on the lip of Lake Pontchartrain. He was raised there, reading in the salt-flecked breeze on a splintered wharf that jutted into south Pass. Never bored, he divides his time between trying to raise organic chickens in the Livingston Parish piney woods, traveling to different time zones, and exercising his mind by steadily learning as much as he can. He graduated from Lsu in 2013 and Wayne state university in 2015. He is a busy fiction writer and contemplative naturalist. He has a great time living life.


Healthy Life, March 2017

Healthy Living: Outside and Inside

Healthy Living: Outside and Inside

Iron on Iron Mobile Fitness Works for Total Well-Being

Story and Photos by Patrick Allen

Iron on Iron, Kingdom Kounsel & Hammond First Responders coming together for back to school rally.

“IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY OUT TODAY, PERFECT TO ‘GET YOUR SET!” says Coach Patrick Allen of Iron on Iron Mobile Fitness. His philosophy: it doesn’t matter if it’s clear and sunny or gloomy and rainy, every day is a good day to pursue your health. This philosophy inspires Coach Allen to teach and motivate others, especially kids, to get active. The same philosophy resonates with many, he says, from internet health gurus to former First Lady Michelle Obama and her “Let’s Move” directives. “We can all agree that we need to get moving,” he says. “Our nation needs the impetus to get active and pursue good health.”

Coach Allen, an ACE Certified Group Instructor and Owner of Iron on Iron Mobile Fitness, often focuses on finding innovative ways to get kids active. While he is not against technology, he says the rise in the number of technological gadgets available to everyone – children in particular – takes away from the desire to get up and get active. He suggests that parents limit the time children spend on things like mobile devices, game consoles and tablets, and exchange that time for clean fresh air, getting up and getting active.

Coach Allen stresses the importance of nd- ing God purpose for their lives with Ham- mond boot campers.

“Children’s health is a big focus for me,” says Allen. He often advises, “Get the kids to the park, bring your running shoes and leave your phones at home. Let’s rediscover the joys of running, kick ball, basketball and so on. Come get this fresh air!” Coach Allen also focuses on inspiring his clients to think about what’s going on inside – the health of the inner body and things we cannot see. “Just because your outer self may look good, doesn’t always indicate good health inside,” says Coach Allen. “You must learn to eat right, know what you’re putting inside your body – eating as well as drinking. Read labels, ask questions, limit and reduce fried foods, but give yourself treat days. We must purpose to live longer and stronger!”

While Iron on Iron Mobile Fitness works to increase the importance of health and activity in children, it is not limited to kids. His services include boot camp classes for all ages and stages of health. Coach Allen brings the workout to his clients. He lovingly yet firmly says “if it’s raining, we’re still training!” or instructs them to “keep it moving” when they happen to think they can’t perform. He works to inspire a push for greatness, a great and positive energy that he believes is inside everyone.

Coach Allen believes in replacing negative energy with positive energy. In Deepak Chopra’s book, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul: How to Create a New You (Harmony Books, 2009), readers are taught the difference between healthy and unhealthy energy.

Healthy energy is flowing, flexible, dynamic, balanced, soft, associated with positive feelings. Unhealthy energy is stuck, frozen, rigid, brittle, hard, out of balance, associated with negative emotions.

Coach Allen says finishing boot camp classes and personal training sessions really makes his clients feel they have accomplished something great! Praise and worship music is the backbone of most workouts. Coach Allen credits his personal relationship with God as the source of his burning desire to lead people to good energy and great health. “You’ve got to get it!” he says.

Coach Allen always stresses the importance of good health by getting active and healthy eating. “If you put good things in, you’ll get good things out,” he says. “So, get your kids moving! When you do, they’ll inspire you to keep moving. The family that becomes active together, gets healthy together! It’s Your Set – time to Go Get It!”




Taking time to pray before boot camp activities.