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Overboard Blog

Living the extraordinary life of faith!

Watch your mouth

Joseph Castaneda

Last August my family and I spent a week hanging with friends in Baltimore, and then took a few days to tour DC. We had a great time visiting our nation’s capital and touring so many great (and free!) museums. If you haven’t ever taken a vacation in DC, be sure to put it on the calendar for the family, it will be worth it!

 Traci taking a quick selfie with AJ, Bethany and the Washington Monument.

Traci taking a quick selfie with AJ, Bethany and the Washington Monument.

 

One night we left our hotel to pick up some late-night snacks for everyone. We found a grocery store about a mile from where we were staying and shopped the aisles looking for each family member’s favorite treat. After everyone was satisfied with their choices, we headed to the check out and found the only register open at that hour.

 

While our items were being scanned, Celina looked up at the African American lady who was our checker, and without any kind of prompting said, “Wow, I love your hair!” The lady stopped, looked over at CJ and the biggest smile came across her face. She said, “Why thank you honey, you are so sweet!”

 

Celina had never seen hair extensions like the ones this lady was wearing, and she was enamored by them. The grocer asked Celina if she wanted to touch them to which CJ enthusiastically responded with a “Yes.” The lady talked to our daughter for several minutes about hair, beauty and how much her words meant to her that night. As we walked out of the grocery store, the lady and her fellow employee (a woman who bagged our groceries) were talking, smiling, laughing and had a totally different outlook on life.

 

All because a ten year old girl said, “Wow, I love your hair!”

 

Just as a careless word can destroy a person, a compliment is a powerful tool when wielded by expert lips. But like any professional in any trade, you become an expert by practicing with the tools of the trade. Are you practicing with your words? I love Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

 

My little girl showed me an incredible example of helpful speech that builds up others, so that even a second teller who was just “listening” to our conversation was encouraged by what she said. Such a little compliment changed the outcome of the night for two grocery store employees and who knows how far that one blessing traveled. I’m sure the one lady told her daughters at home, about the kind words of a little Mexican girl at her store, at 8:30pm that night. I feel certain the two tellers continued to talk about CJ after we left, it really had that much impact.

 

What are you doing with your words? Who is being blessed by your speech? Are you becoming a professional compliment giver and word encourager? Living the Overboard Life requires each of us to use our words according to God’s standards for speech, and the only way to get better is to practice daily. Who can you encourage and compliment today?

 

Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!

"No Thru Traffic" and the shortness of life.

Joseph Castaneda

I try to walk three to four times a week, partly to keep active and healthy, and partly to keep strengthening my knee after this past summer’s surgery. When I don’t walk with Traci, I often spend my time memorizing verses, praying or just thinking through the challenges and opportunities we’re currently facing. It seems like several blogs have emerged as a result of my walks.

 

On my walk this morning I decided to take a detour through our local cemetery. I chuckled (darkly) as I entered thru the main gate due to the sign that read, “No Thru Traffic.” Indeed, the traffic headed to the cemetery is generally not headed out. And that’s when my stroll turned somber, as I snapped a few pictures, read a few names and tombstones and was reminded of the reality that life is short.

 

Each tombstone in the cemetery represents a life, a story of someone who lived on this earth and engaged others. With their last names listed boldly for others to see, I began to wonder what these people had been like during their living years. Jackson, Walter, Titus, Campbell, Winter Thornburg, Hansen, Olsen, Eherhardt, Sherwood, White, Kies, Brown...on and on the names emerged from gravesite after gravesite. Some were adorned with freshly cut flowers, others hadn’t been visited in years.

 

There is something very sobering about a cemetery and the certainty of death. Two years ago I wrote a series of blogs about being at the statistical half-way point of life. Now, as days turn into weeks, and as years roll by, the reality is that one day I too will be in a vehicle that will pass thru the iron gate baring the sign, “No Thru Traffic” and some other walker or jogger will pass by my tombstone and wonder what I was like, and be curious about the kind of life I had lived.

 

Living the Overboard Life isn’t about fame, fortune, prosperity or comfort. Instead, the Overboard Life is a commitment to follow the Lord, whenever He calls, into any situation He has prepared for us. It’s about living life out of the overflow of God’s abundance, touching the heart of others with the life changing message of a relationship with God and living according to the design with which He has created in everyone of us.

 

Thanks to Jesus, I don’t fear death, but I fear living a small life because I let fear, anxiety and hardship define me more than the truth of who God made me to be. I fear that one day someone will see my headstone, and if they explored my story they would discover a man who let the worries and stress of this life block out the big picture that “could have been” had he grabbed the hand of His creator and lived out Ephesians 3:20: “God can do anything you know, far more than you can ever imagine, guess or request in your wildest dreams!”

 

I left the cemetery today (thankfully!) oddly encouraged to keep pursuing the Overboard Life. Right now life seems hard but only when I lose sight of the one whom I follow. When I keep focused on Him, I can grab the sides of the boat, jump out on the water and live the remarkable life to which I have been called.

 

What about you? Are you going through the motions? Are you defining yourself by the past or letting fear and anxiety cripple your future? Find real freedom by focusing yourself on the one who calls you out of the boat, and out on the water where He is doing His Kingdom work. That life will leave an extraordinary mark behind a tombstone some jogger will find on a quiet fall day, on a detour through the cemetery.

 

Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!

Scoffing at a million dollars

joeacast

My son AJ and I were talking about the million dollar give-a-way at McDonalds and he was a little incensed that McD's would give away one million dollars without paying the taxes for the winner. After all, a multi-billion dollar organization could probably afford to pay the taxes, too, right? His perspective made me look inward about how I view gifts given to me. Would you scoff at a million dollars?

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Happy Titanic-a-versary

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April 15th is a date most Americans don't like—it's the day income taxes for the previous year are filed. But April 15th has a history of bad memories, as it's the day Lincoln died and in 1912, it was the day the Titanic sank. There's a lot of debate about how the Titanic sank as fast as she did, but discoveries in the past 20 years have given us a clearer picture of her demise and there a few lessons to be learned from the disaster that gripped nations around the world.

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How to be first to the South Pole (part 2)

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Back when the South Pole was one of the last explored places on earth, two mean, representing two countries and two very distinct styles of exploration, raced for historical immortality as each sought to plant his country's flag first, at the true South Pole. There's a lot to learn from how these men  pursued their goal. (Part 2 of 2)

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How to be first to the South Pole

joeacast

Back when the South Pole was one of the last explored places on earth, two mean, representing two countries and two very distinct styles of exploration, raced for historical immortality as each sought to plant his country's flag first, at the true South Pole. There's a lot to learn from how these men  pursued their goal. (Part 1 of 2)

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Easter reflections: consoling a terminal patient

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All of us have known people—or maybe you've been that person—who received the terrible news that their life expectancy was going to be shortened significantly. Maybe it was because of cancer, a heart-condition or a freak accident, but whatever the reason, this person will start measuring their life in months, weeks or days. Here are two perspectives about the end of life, and each one makes a world of difference even in the face of death!

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Taxes and the Electric Cheetah

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Life can truly feel out-of-control at times. Ever had an unexpected tax bill or doctor's fee come your way? Ever get one of those calls that you wish hadn't come? While we can't always control the things life throw at us, we have a lot of influence over how we respond

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Why are Baptists against pre-marital sex?

joeacast

I'm very proud  and thankful for my Baptist heritage and conservative upbringing. God has used that foundation in my life, time and time again. Thanks to my appreciation for that upbringing, I can also enjoy a few good jokes at the expense of my Baptist friends!

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What kind of friend are you?

joeacast

Over the past 14 months, our family has been on a crazy journey that would have been impossible without so many great friends who helped out along the way. As I've reflected on those friendships, I've come up with seven types of people who have been an extraordinary blessing to us along the way...so what kind of friend, are you?

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