Friday, January 15, 2010

When the Ordinary Become Extra-ordinary by Kay Marshall Strom

Today's guest blogger is author Kay Marshall Strom. Kay Marshall Strom is the author of thirty-six published books, including her most recent, The Second-Half Adventure: Don't Just Retire-Use Your Time, Skills, and Resources to Change the World. Her writing credits also include numerous magazine articles, short stories, curriculum, stories for children, two prize-winning screenplays, and booklets for writers. Kay speaks at seminars, retreats, and special events throughout the country. She and her husband Dan Kline love to travel, and more and more Kay’s writing and speaking take her around the word. To find out more about Kay, or for contact information, check her website at

"When the Ordinary Become Extra-ordinary" by Kay Marshall Strom

So, what kind of people seek out a Second-Half Adventure? Who decides simple retirement isn’t for them? That they would rather use their lifetime of accumulated skills and resources to change the world?

Well, lots of ordinary people. And some pretty extra-ordinary ones, too.

You would probably consider Charlie extraordinary—unless you also grew up in a mafia family. Charlie knew two things: power and money. He learned early how to get what he wanted, often through intimidation. As an adult, he started a financial planning business which was hugely profitable. Charlie was tough, he had money, he had power. True, at forty-three his third marriage was about to end, but he would see that it ended on his terms. Then a strange thing happened. Charlie’s wife started going to church. He mocked and ridiculed her, but she went anyway. Nothing he did stopped her. Grudgingly, he finally agreed to attend with her on Easter Sunday, and—miracle of miracles—Charlie encountered God.

Charlie soon discovered that Christians have the same money problems as everyone else. He offered his financial services, which were eagerly accepted, and he also began to teach classes on financial responsibility. “Most people are surprised to learn there is more in the Bible about money than any other subject,” Charlie says.

But Charlie did more than just teach; he lived his lessons. Within two years, he and his wife were debt-free. He sold his business and committed to work full time with Crown Financial Ministries—an interdenominational organization dedicated to teaching biblical financial principles and helping people apply them.

“Christians should model good financial stewardship,” Charlie insists. “Imagine if we pointed the way in these hard financial times by living without debt!”

Okay, so Charlie isn’t ordinary. But Kathy would describe herself that way. When her engineer husband, Clint, was tapped to go with a group from their Oregon church to Venezuela and make a business presentation to university students, Kathy decided to tag along. At the last minute, she put together packets of a quilt block she had developed and stuck them in her suitcase. Fifty of them.

Her husband never got to give his presentation. But to everyone’s amazement, an entourage met the team at the airport. It was there to meet Kathy. “We heard about the quilt and we’ve got a lot of women interested,” they said. “We hope you have enough supplies for ninety women.”

She didn’t. But Clint put away his presentation notes, picked up a pair of scissors, and got busy helping Kathy cut out the twenty-five piece sets—each piece represented an element of Jesus’ story of the Woman at the Well.

On second thought, Kathy and Clint aren’t so ordinary either. Kathy’s self-assurance and Clint’s gentle refusal to insist but-I’m-the-one-with-the-valuable-skills! are rare traits.

Now, John, though—he insists no one is as ordinary as he.

John spent his entire life as a bread delivery truck driver whose day started at four a.m. He retired two years ago, but a lifetime routine of getting up so early isn’t easily changed. John is still out of bed at four, but now he sits down immediately at his computer and logs in to his personal site at GMO, an organization that uses cutting-edge technologies to respond to spiritual questions from people around the world. “I’m never lonely,” John says of his early morning sessions. “Somewhere in the world, someone with a pressing question is always up at that hour.” And, thanks to the training GMO gave him, John feels comfortable offering answers. Even to people in Ghana… or Ethiopia… or India…

Come to think of it, second half adventurers are ordinary people who become extra-ordinary because of the way they choose to define retirement.

About The Second-Half Adventure

Whoever you are, whatever your skills and experiences, you can use what you have gained in life to help change the world. In connection with The Finishers Project, The Second-Half Adventure will enable you to analyze where you have been, where you want to go in the second-half of your life, and how to start preparing today.

Through the stories of individuals and couples who have found meaningful involvements—from business people to housewives, from engineers to artists—this book will help you infuse your special God-given years with purpose and eternal significance. The best adventure is yet to come!

This book is also available in a Kindle edition.

You can follow Kay's virtual book tour by checking in every weekday in January and February at

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