HUDDLE!

This months theme on Writing Prompts is Football. Great topic for a football mom–Nick (tight end) is playing for the Ragin’ Cajuns at the University of Louisiana – Lafayette and my older son Jake (tight-end) played for the Wisconsin Badgers and also in the NFL. We are definitely a football family.

Nick, sister Betsy, and Jake

Nick, sister Betsy, and Jake

Instead of my thoughts about football, what better than thoughts from the guy who played in the NFL. Here’s an excerpt from my son Jake’s A-Z devotional book – First and Goal – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up. Jake is a type one diabetic who never gave up his dreams. Harvest House Publishers released his book on August 1, 2015 just in time for football season.

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HuddleA large circle formation taken by the players on the field prior to the start of the play. In the huddle, the quarterback (offense) or linebacker (defense) informs the players which play will be run, along with words of encouragement.

“I can’t go,” Phil Supernaw said. “I’ll just be a burden.”

“Huddle!” I said to my teammates. Phil, a tight end for the Texans, had suffered a football injury–a broken foot–and couldn’t walk. My buddies and I wanted to get out of Houston and attend a concert in Austin, but we couldn’t leave Phil behind.

“We’ll find a wheelchair.” Ben Jones grabbed his smart phone and started searching.

“No player should be left behind.” Cody White pumped a fist in the air. “You’re coming with us.”

I clapped my hands and then pointed. “You two. Interlock arms and make a chair. Carry him. I’ll get my pickup.”

We hefted Phil out to my truck and drove around town in search of the medical supply store. Finally, with the wheelchair in back and my buddies in the truck, I parked at the concert. We lifted Phil into the chair and wheeled him to Will Call, where our tickets were being held.

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Jake pushing NFL player, Phil Supernaw

A smiling young woman behind the counter glanced at the tickets. Her smile faded and she shook her head. “These are for the general public. There’s no wheelchair access.”
“If one of us can’t get in, none of us will go.” I crossed my arms. The others nodded.

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25).

The girl looked at Phil and sighed. “Y’all are so sweet to care for your friend.” She smiled. “Wait here. I’ll be right back.”

A few minutes later she returned with special tickets to the VIP area close to the stage and back stage passes too!

Huddles are used in sports to bring everyone together, discuss strategies, and encourage individuals. On offense, the quarterback relays the plays in the huddle. On defense, the captain relays the coach’s instructions for the proper alignment and how to defend the expected play. Words of encouragement are passed in the huddle to keep each other motivated and to keep the game plan in sight.

In our huddle, we had decided we couldn’t attend a concert and leave a teammate behind, especially one who was injured and downhearted. In the end, our commitment toward each other gained us VIP passes and we all had a great time, a night we’ll never forget.

Vince Lombardi once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Got a player on your team who is weak? Downhearted? Are you? Gather your team, discuss strategy, and encourage one another. If the plan benefits the entire team, a successful outcome will follow.

***

Excerpt from my son’s book, First and Goal – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up. Available in Christian Book Stores, Barnes and Noble and online books sellers. Link to the Amazon site. A great gift for anyone with obstacles to overcome.

Writing Prompt: When did you have to huddle and work as a team to get a job done?  Have you had to carry someone in prayer to get them through a rough spot?

First and Goal: What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up By Jake Byrne and Holly Michael

IMG_1177Today, we welcome authors, Jake Byrne and his mom, Holly Michaelon the blog to showcase their latest release, First and Goal: What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up.

Hello, Jake and Holly! So glad you could join us. First question:

Have you always wanted to be an author?

Jake: Writing a book had been in the back of my mind for a couple of years. As a type 1 diabetic, it took a lot of trial and error to manage the disease and compete in sports. I wanted to share my experiences to encourage others to never give up despite diabetes or other obstacles.

Holly: Of my three kids, I never imagined Jake would be the one who would follow the same path as me. I’m thrilled. My answer is also, yes, I also carried that thought in the back of my mind from my childhood. I loved reading and writing ever since my mom picked me and a Dr. Seuss book up and sat down. My writing career began as soon as I could form words to letters and scribble poems for my parents and siblings. The day I found out I was pregnant with Jake, I started writing letters to him in a hard-bound journal. I gave it to him when he left home to play football for the University of Wisconsin.

I love a mother-son writing team. 🙂

What do you love the most about writing, and what do you like the least?

Jake: The most? The finished project! Seriously, the process was fun, too. I enjoyed combining the anecdotes and stories with Bible verses and football terms. The least? Typing on a keyboard. Not my favorite thing. Thankfully, as a team effort, with my mom as the ghostwriter, we completed the project by deadline.

Holly: And I love to type! Just love how my fingers can fly over those letters when the words flow into my mind, or in this case from Jake’s mind. We were an excellent team on this project. I also love the editing process. What do I like least? I certainly don’t dislike any part of writing. But, for fiction writing, I dread the empty page before I begin a new chapter. I do love writing fiction, but as one who writes both fiction and nonfiction, I think nonfiction is easier for me.

An empty page is a scary thing.

How did you come up with the idea for this devotional?

Jake: During football season with the San Diego Chargers, my mom called and the topic of writing a devotional IMG_7155using football terms came up in the conversation. It sounded like a perfect way to get across a message of encouragement to never give up on dreams no matter what mountains have to be moved.

Holly: Yes, he was all in. And with the help of God, Jake moved a lot of mountains to go as far as the NFL with football. And I was super excited after that phone call with Jake. I was only a couple of days away from going to a Christian Writer’s Conference when we talked about the idea. We put our minds together and came up with a one-sheet that I presented to Kim Moore with Harvest House Publishers. Kim let me know right away that she loved it.  And within a short time we were offered a contract.

God works in wonderful ways! 

Do you blog? How often?

Jake: I just started my blog and am not as active as I should be, but am working on it. I’m also working for a Marketing firm as well as trying to get my foundation, Type Won, started. The foundation’s goal is to help support kids with Type 1 diabetes to stay active and healthy. And, I also recently got married. My wife Emma has been a real blessing and helper through all of this, someone who shares my dreams and goals.

Holly: I love Emma. She’s amazing and an answer to prayers for a perfect wife for my son. Jake’s always got big goals and he’s been working hard trying to fit the blogging in with everything else, including busy days surrounding the release of First and Goal. I also blog on my own blog at www.writingstraight.com about faith and family. A lot of Jake’s journey into the NFL was chronicled on that blog. I am also part of a blogging team on a couple of other blogs, including this one!

And we love having you here. ❤ Last question:

What fun fact would you like your readers to know about you?

Jake: I fear clowns and miniature ponies.

Holly: I can understand the clowns. I fear them, too. The miniature ponies…well, maybe Jake fears the ponies because he’s bigger than them and if he rode them he might kill them. Lol. Now he owns a Great Dane dog that’s bigger than a miniature pony. My fun fact: Ever since I was a teenager, whenever I drive alone at night I fear running into a row of aliens standing on the road, holding hands to block my way and abduct me. Ok, Jake, maybe the shetland pony fear isn’t so weird.

Clowns, ponies, and aliens. Sounds like a book in the works to me.

Thanks so much for dropping by, Jake and Holly. If you’d like to win a signed copy of First and Goal – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up, please leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win.

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Jake Byrne dreamed of playing professional football. He had the size, the talent, the drive…but at age 14, he found out he also had type 1 diabetes.

Still, Jake was determined to reach his goal. And God was determined to guide and empower him all along the way.

Jake’s journey to the NFL is the backdrop for this collection of inspiring devotions based on nearly a hundred football terms. Jake takes you to the weight room, practice field, and even across the goal line. You’ll feel as if you’re lined up next to him, facing a very large defender you’re about to take down. He also includes Scripture and then ties up each story in a way that feels real and encouraging. You’ll discover…

  • what to do when God calls an audible in your life
  • how to respond when God puts you on special teams
  • why prayer is never an incomplete pass

These quick daily readings will help you press through your own difficulties and experience God’s dream for you.

Jake Byrne grew up in Rogers, Arkansas. A type 1 diabetic since the age of fourteen, he has since been proactive combating the disease and mentoring diabetic youth. He played football for the University of Wisconsin as a tight end, and went on to compete in the NFL. Originally an undrafted free agent who signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012, he has also been a Houston Texan, Kansas City Chief, and San Diego Charger. He and his wife, Emma, live in Dallas. Jake blogs at www.typewon.net.Facebook Page (Type Won): www.facebook.com/typewon1

Twitter: @sugarfreejb82

Instagram: Jakebyrne81

Email: typewonquestions@gmail.com

Holly Michael has enjoyed a writing career as a journalist, features writer, and a regular ghostwriter for Guideposts magazine before authoring novels and nonfiction books. Married to Anglican Bishop, Leo Michael, Holly has three grown children and lives in Kansas City. She blogs at www.writingstraight.com

Contact her at www.HollyMichael.com or on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/AuthorHollyMichael  or Twitter: @HollyMichael

In First and Goal – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up, Holly Michael joins her NFL player son, Jake Byrne, in this football-themed devotional published by Harvest House, due for release in August 2015.

Goodbye Comfort Food

IMG_1177What if you have to give up your favorite comfort food?

When my son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a teen, he said good-bye to his favorite comfort food and all-time staple – Pizza. It was a tough summer for him since pizza was also the food of choice at parties and outings. Maintaining sugar levels and managing this auto-immune disease while working to secure a starting spot on the varsity football team was a huge challenge for Jake, but he did great.

He managed exceptionally well — I’m such a proud mom — and eventually went on to play professional football in the NFL. Harvest House Publishers just released his first book, an awesome, inspiring devotional: First and Goal – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up.  UnknownEventually, Jake brought pizza back into his diet and used insulin to correct sugar levels, but he still maintains a very healthy diet. So, in honor of Jake, I’m sharing a diabetes-friendly pizza recipe from Nikki Sheriff @  Diabetesconnect.com

320x260Chicken Pesto Pizza with a Cauliflower Crust By Nikki Sheriff
Crust:

1 small head of cauliflower

1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1 egg

Pesto: (1 cup bottled pesto may be substituted)

1 cup fresh basil

1/4 cup pine nuts

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

pinch sea salt

fresh ground pepper to taste

Toppings:

1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded

6 thin slices of a Roma tomato

1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: To make the crust, trim and wash cauliflower florets (not including the stems). Pulse in a food processor until fine.Pour into a microwave safe bowl and microwave covered for 5 minutes. Lay out a clean kitchen towel and lay a paper towel over it. Pour the steamed cauliflower onto the towels and let cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, wrap up the steamed cauliflower and wring out as much liquid from the cauliflower as possible.Pour into a bowl and mix with cheeses and seasonings listed above under “crust”. Add the egg and mix with your hands and shape into a ball. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, placing a baking sheet in the oven to heat up.Lay out a piece of parchment paper and press and shape the cauliflower mixture into the shape of a pizza, about 1/4 inch thick. Once the oven is preheated, carefully lay the parchment paper with crust onto the baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.While the crust is baking, make the pesto if using fresh pesto (or you could use bottled pesto).For the pesto, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and parmesan cheese in a food processor until well mixed.Turn on the food processor and slowly drizzle in the olive oil, followed by the salt and pepper. Let it puree until well incorporated. Mix half of the pesto with the shredded chicken and set aside.When the crust is baked, remove from the oven and spread the other half of the pesto onto the crust, like pizza sauce. Top with the chicken mixed with pesto, the tomato slices, and both

Pour into a bowl and mix with cheeses and seasonings listed above under “crust”. Add the egg and mix with your hands and shape into a ball. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, placing a baking sheet in the oven to heat up.Lay out a piece of parchment paper and press and shape the cauliflower mixture into the shape of a pizza, about 1/4 inch thick. Once the oven is preheated, carefully lay the parchment paper with crust onto the baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.While the crust is baking, make the pesto if using fresh pesto (or you could use bottled pesto).For the pesto, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan cheese in a food processor until well mixed.Turn on the food processor and slowly drizzle in the olive oil, followed by the salt and pepper. Let it puree until well incorporated. Mix half of the pesto with the shredded chicken and set aside.When the crust is baked, remove from the oven and spread the other half of the pesto onto the crust, like pizza sauce. Top with the chicken mixed with pesto, the tomato slices, and both

While the crust is baking, make the pesto if using fresh pesto (or you could use bottled pesto).For the pesto, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan cheese in a food processor until well mixed. Turn on the food processor and slowly drizzle in the olive oil, followed by the salt and pepper. Let it puree until well incorporated. Mix half of the pesto with the shredded chicken and set aside.When the crust is baked, remove from the oven and spread the other half of the pesto onto the crust, like pizza sauce. Top with the chicken mixed with pesto, the tomato slices, and both cheese’s.Bake 5-7 minutes until the cheese is melted. Slice into 8 slices and serve.

Looks and sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

***

Holly Michael has enjoyed a writing career as a journalist, features writer, and a regular ghostwriter for a Guideposts magazine before authoring novels and nonfiction books. Married to Anglican Bishop, Leo Michael, Holly has three grown children; daughter Betsy and football-playing sons—Jake (NFL) and Nick (University of Louisiana-Lafayette). Kansas City, Missouri is home and she blogs at www.writingstraight.com

Contact her at www.HollyMichael.com or on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/AuthorHollyMichael or Twitter: @HollyMichael

First and Goal: What Football Taught Me About Life can be pre-ordered at Amazon now by clicking this link, but will soon be available in most book-seller markets.

Thanks for stopping by. We are happy you joined us at Writing Prompts in June for our “Comfort Food Month.” Be sure to stop over in July. You will enjoy “Greatest Movie Ever Month.”

And now for the writing prompt…

The doctor lowered his eyes and studied the file. He raised his head and peered over his glasses. “You’re going to have to make drastic changes in your life.”

And go! Respond below in the comments section.