Meet Stephen Moten. He is one of our favorite people on earth. I have tried to remember the first time we met but I just can't pinpoint it. What I do know is that when we really began to get to know him, when he was a Young Life leader in Jackson, our entire family instantly loved him.
He and his wife Leslie were gatherers long before they ever met and started dating. Somethings never change. I guarantee you that this week they have gathered a group of high schoolers at their home. It is in their DNA.
Stephen works for Young Life in Memphis, TN and he makes his living earning the right to be heard by high school students. He shows up at practices and the parking lot. He goes to the lunchroom so that he can seek them out. He loves people well and has an amazing ability to help them know they are loved. There are many young men who would say that they know Jesus Christ because Stephen took the time and effort to love them.
Summers at Lions Field
My friends had Mark McGuire, Ken Griffey Jr., and Sammy Sosa to look up to when we were kids. I had my two older brothers Michael and Dewayne. They were all I ever wanted to be growing up. I would spend my summer nights in the stands at Lion's Field watching them play baseball, chasing down their foul balls to exchange them for candy and popcorn in the concession stands. I couldn't wait for their games to end, because that meant it was my turn to run the bases. I loved watching my brothers play baseball. They were my heroes, and I couldn't wait till I had the chance to put on the green and gold, Kelly Food jersey and play under the lights at Lion's Field.
I will never forget the day that I finally got the opportunity to play baseball at the park where all the legends I looked up to had played. It was all I could have hoped for and more. I had a coach named Don Jordan who taught me the basics of the game and taught me how to win on and off the field. Our team was made up of several kids who were just like me and many other kids who were worlds apart from me. Baseball brought us together, and those summers playing for Kelly Food made us become like brothers. We won a lot of games that season.
After each game we would all head to the concession stand, grab a Coke and sit in the stands to watch our friends on the other teams play.
I loved those days. There was something innocent and pure about those evenings spent at Lion's Field. Perhaps I'm being overly nostalgic, but in my eyes, those were the good ol' days. I was able to dream back then. I was able to be a part of something that was bigger than me with people who were different than me. I was able to have fun, and give my best. We were all celebrated, and we were able to just be kids.
Summers at Lion's Field molded me like nothing else has. As innocent as those days may have been, I know that they came at a great price. My parents would hurry home from work to rush us to the ballpark for practices and games from March to July. We sacrificed the out of town beach trips and summer vacations. Our vacations were All-Star games in Lexington, Huntington, and Paris. While the days were long and hot, the memories will never leave me.
Don't forget there is MUCH more to our summer series. We have many articles that will touch your heart and get your creative juices flowing when it comes to your family. Check out Brooke Perkins article Chase the Bubbles, Drink the Kool-Aid. As a kid who was called the "Kool-Aid kid" I approve any message that might yield a Kool-Aid mustache.
Derek McClardy shares a story about his family who comes up with a great idea to keep the family coming back together AND keep the adventure alive. Check out his article A Fun Family.