Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Glory be: My first published article

... where real dreams can come true!by Leslee B. Benson

Bright eyes and enthusiastic laughter surround the Remove Formatting from selectionnew West Jordan SME Steel Field of Dreams Park. It was built with special children in mind to fulfill a need, a need the community felt could be met. What the community didn’t expect was they would be the ones to benefit from such a wonderful investment into the lives of those who laugh and love and give everything they have with their hearts. To them this is a field of dreams–where real dreams can come true. In June of 2005, Rotary International’s Centennial Convention invited members of the West Jordan Rotary Club to Chicago. One event changed their lives and eventually changed the lives of those who live in West Jordan. They attended a hospitality night hosted by the Rotary Club of Roselle, Illinois where it was explained that they would be attending a special baseball game. They traveled by bus to a “Miracle League” field that had been a project of the Roselle Rotary Club, and sponsored by the Chicago White Sox Baseball team. As Stuart and Sharon Richardson, and Doug and Janice Schmidt watched this game, tears filled their eyes. They looked at each other and said, “Can we ask our club to build a field like this in West Jordan?” Ask they did, and after much thought, debate and consideration they decided that it could be done and put the project in motion. Research told the West Jordan Rotary Club that in Salt Lake County alone there are over 25,000 disabled children, teenagers, and young adults from the ages of 3 to 25 that needed a field to play on without traveling a long distance. From that first game in Chicago in 2005, the field was on their minds and put into full swing where the steps to fundraise and to find those who could help fulfill their goal began unfolding. There are heros that contributed to the project, SME Steel to name just one. When the field of dreams project was proposed to Craig Moyes, President of SME Steel, he got excited and became the title sponsor for the project. They are honored by the Field of Dreams sign bearing their name. When the economy went bad, a phone call was made to SME to make sure funding was going to be possible. West Jordan was assured they would be able to make their original donation, it was just going to take some time. Over 30 businesses have become partners with us to make this great project a reality and a valuable part of our community. The economy became a big issue for everyone that contributed. It held up progress for those donating time and man hours on a volunteer basis. While committing to build the field they needed to also ensure their own companys’ well-being. The process took longer than originally planned but the outcome was what everyone dreamed it would be. Those overseeing the project wanted to make sure that they had the money before they spent it. More than anything they wanted to be fiscally responsible with the money that was donated to such a worthy cause. After all the donations had come in and been spent, there was a shortage of funds. They needed $25,000 to finish the project. Then an amazing thing happened; the West Jordan Rotary club—20 members strong—came up with an idea. They came up with I.O.U’s to raise the money. Each member decided how much money they could raise and signed an I.O.U. By the end of the evening, a promise of $25,000 had been made by these very optimistic members. However, none of the I.O.U’s had to be collected. ABC Channel 4 evening news came to do a story on the field and was told about the money shortage. They told their viewers about the short fall, and by the next day a private donor came forward with the remainder of the money needed, and a few weeks later the field finished. Once again, the Field of Dreams received its miracle. On behalf of the West Jordan Community and the West Jordan Rotary club—without them none of this would have been possible. We’d like to thank and honor each of our prestigious sponsors for their help and dedication to the project—none had to join, but all did. Thank you! Finally the field was completed on August 12, 2009 and dedicated by the Governor of the State of Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert. “I’m so honored and pleased that my first official public outing is here at this field of dreams,” he said. “By the power vested in me as the governor of the greatest state in America. I hereby dedicate the SME Steel Field of Dreams to the enjoyment of the players, to the enjoyment of the spectators, and to the proud parents and family members who are going to enjoy hours and hours of wonderful time here today in associating with family and friends to the good of all of us.” The saying from the movie still holds true today—‘If you build it they will come,’ and come they did to partake in an experience some had waited a lifetime for. Enthusiastic parents stood on the sidelines and cheered for the moment when their son or daughter got a turn at bat. Each opportunity filled a special need and place in both child and parent. For this field is rare. There are over 130 fields nationwide, but only one resides in Utah, and it can be found in West Jordan. For children everywhere who have trouble running and those in wheelchairs can now have a chance to play like others they’ve only been able to watch before. The new “Miracle League” sponsored by Salt Lake County will play on this new field, which comes with a special rubberized surface that is used for track fields. This special surface accommodates wheelchairs, walkers and those who are visually impaired. If you find yourself at a “Miracle League” game there are some differences for players and fans alike. • Every player bats once each inning • All players are safe on the bases • Every player scores a run before the inning is over (last one up gets a home run) • Community children and volunteers serve as ‘buddies’ to assist the players • Each team and each player wins every game The field comes with striping for softball or baseball, but it can also accommodate soccer and basketball with temporary goals. The hope is to use this new field to the best of the county and Gene Fullmer’s abilities. To register and join one of the adaptive youth baseball leagues contact Gene Fullmer Recreation Center, 8015 S. 2200 West, 801-563-8440. On September 12, 2009, the first ball was thrown and connected with a bat sending baseball season into full swing on the new field. The “Miracle League” slogan is, “Every child deserves a chance to play baseball.” The West Jordan Rotary Club and West Jordan City agreed. Building the field was not without its problems, but overcoming them and seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces has made it all worth it. Come take a minute to enjoy a warm spring day with earth’s angels rounding first, then second, then on to third and then all the way to home base with more enthusiasm then anyone’s seen for a long time. Come participate in a wonderful experience and the great blessing of being touched by real love, laughter and an overwhelming sense of true happiness.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

five launguages of love

I just read the book The Five Love Languages by; Gary Chapman. I have to say, this was a very fun book to read and a great night spent with my spouse and kids. I gave everyone their test sheet of thirty questions including myself. We all sat down around the dinner table and filled them out. We added up points and found out which love language we are. I found this quite entertaining and interesting as my children talked to one another about the questions on the test once it was over. The five love language categories are:

1-Words of Affirmation

2-Quality Time

3-Receiving Gifts

4-Acts of Service

5-Physical Touch

I was completely surprised and speechless when all of us had the same love language. Maybe the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree. Some of us had two Love Languages that tied for first place. I found this very fascinating. I spent the next hour reading about expressing love in their language. This is actually a fun activity if you haven't done it. My friend who gave me this book swears this has helped improve one of her relationships in her own life. Again I find this fascinating. Any hoo, I love reading books and trying new things and this was actually fun for the whole family. Check it out you might want to try it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A memory from an amazing life.

Since we just had Father's day I thought I would share an amazing moment from the life of an amazing man; my father.
My dad left work at 1:00 every Wednesday to take Jerry, a man who lived nearby to the doctors. None of us knew why, except for my mom. After a few months my father was diagnosed with colon cancer and now was unable to take Jerry to the doctor’s. Jerry, we found out had AIDS and his family had disowned him. My father felt that no one deserved to be alone and others around us felt the same and when my father could no longer take care of Jerry we as a family and neighbors began to help him out. With both of them dealing with their illnesses they kept in touch weekly.
At the beginning of November my father’s condition worsened, we all knew that he only had a few weeks left. A week before his death I had the privilege to hear a conversation between Jerry and my father. (I had him recount Jerry’s side of the conversation when he got off the phone.)
Jerry: “How are you?”
My dad: “I have felt better. I don’t think it will be long now.”Jerry: “I’m really scared to die. Are you?
My Dad: “I’m not. I’m comforted in believing that my family and Father in Heaven await me, when I go.
Jerry: “You didn’t give yourself cancer, but my actions gave me AIDS.” My Dad: “Jerry I believe that your Father in Heaven has already forgiven you.” Jerry: “I don’t know; I just don’t know if I have enough faith to believe that.” My father: “I know you’re scared, I’ll tell you what…I will go first, I’ll check it out and then when it is your time I will come and get you and take you home to our Father. I know that he has forgiven you and that he loves you. Jerry I will come back and get you, have faith and believe.” My father passed away on, Thursday, November 28, 1991 at 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon. Jerry passed away a week later, Thursday, December 5, 1991 at 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon. Was this just a weird coincidence, I don’t think so. After hearing this conversation take place and talking to my father afterwards, I truly believe my father gave Jerry a gift that day. A gift of love knowing that someone who cared about him would come and take him home to his father. And I think the Lord gave us a gift by taking Jerry a week later.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Where have I been?

I'm sorry, I've been missing in action. I hope to be better really I do. I have just been caught off guard by how much time it would take to have a daughter graduate from High School and prepare to leave in the next four weeks for college. No one told me this was going to be a full time job along with planning a family vacation before she goes, because it could be the last with just the five of us. So I truly aplogize. Please hang in there with me I will be back. I miss you all and your comments.