Diana Lynn Day-Cartee: Speaking for the Voiceless

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Decades ago, I met a young lady who seemed destined to have everything many people cherish yet never get. Examples:

As a college quarterback at the state university, her father Eagle Day became a household word, idolized by many fans. Eventually, he spent fourteen years as an outstanding professional, both in the U.S. and Canada.

Her mother gained renown as a twirling teacher, ultimately gaining recognition in the national twirling hall of fame.

Her twin brother emerged as a leader in the pharmaceutical industry.

The young lady, Diana, became a majorette at her parents’ alma mater, Ole Miss, known formally as the University of Mississippi. She transitioned into TV broadcasting. While still very young, she became President of a global telecommunications company.

Moving to Nashville, TN she married, gave birth to a beautiful daughter, and formed friendships with big names in the country music business–with several of them living in her neighborhood.

Sounds like a formula for just coasting, doesn’t it? Affluence, influence, and surrounded by whatever she might want to purchase. Why not simply remain satisfied with the good hand life had dealt her?

DIANA’S AWAKENING TO A WORLD OF NEED
Yet Diana Lynn Day-Cartee chose not to coast. She started noticing that many people around the world lacked not only her luxuries–they lacked the essentials of nutrition, health care, shelter, education, freedom to worship, safe drinking water, and supportive families. So she chose a cause. She became immeasurably generous with children in the remote village of Neply. Neply is part of Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Illiteracy, unemployment, and hopeless living conditions abound. Diana chose to attack those problems.

Let’s hear her own words, as she talks bout “My Life Speaks,” the organization that coordinates her service there. The group’s motto reflects its purpose:

“Speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.”

HER SERVICE THROUGH “MY LIFE SPEAKS”

“At My Life Speaks, I develop new business relationships or partnerships with Churches, businesses and individuals. Through the work we are able to feed and educate the children of Neply, Haiti. Understand that in Haiti it is a dream for a child to afford an education . An education and God is their only hope for a brighter future. You can walk around our village and tiny children don’t play dolls, they play school!”

Moving beyond education: “Haiti is a place where child slavery is legal! Ages 4-16. We provide a safe place for them to come and be kids, play games and laugh. And of course provide them with food.”

HAITI MADE A DIFFERENCE IN DIANA

For her, has this been a draining, depressing mision? Not at all: “When God took me to Haiti, I had no idea what I was in for. But, these precious people have taught me and given me so much joy. More than I could ever deserve. Remember how your toddler was so overjoyed when you would come back to pick them up at preschool? That is what the people of all ages are like when I go to Haiti. They are genuinely glad to see you every time.”

She observed: “I am not making a difference, they are making me different!”

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DIANA’S CAUSE

How impressive, how compelling! To learn more about this humanitarian mission Diana has embraced, visit the “My Life Speaks” site:
http://www.mylifespeaks.com/

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10 Life Lessons from Star Athlete Eagle Day

Star Athlete Who Starred in Life

Eagle Day and I grew up less than a mile apart in the tiny town of Columbia, Mississippi. In high school, he became one of my early heroes, because of his remarkable athletic skills.

Consider these achievements:
–Earned 16 letters at Columbia High School: football, baseball, basketball, track
–All-SEC Quarterback at Ole Miss, leading the team to consecutive SEC crowns
–Most valuable back in Cotton Bowl, where he spearheaded a dramatic victory over TCU
–Cotton Bowl, Missisippi, and Ole Miss Halls of Fame
–Played fourteen years of professional football, most valuable player in 1962 in the Canadian Football League

Thrilling as it was to watch my boyhood friend and idol go that far, Eagle Day turned into a different kind of hero for me after his playing days. He became a solid family man, civic and church leader, and supporter of his alma mater. He spoke at youth camps and churches, and volunteered for numerous charities. He helped young athletes hone their skills.

Professionally, he established a successful insurance business, then became Executive Director of the Mississippi Motor Vehicle Commission.

On February 22,2008, this grand champion of athletics and life died from cancer. I lost a lifelong friend. Let me share with you, though, Eagle Day’s ten lessons from winning at life, as I understand them from our many discussions across several decades.

LESSON ONE
: Keep an upbeat attitude. Across many years, whenever I would call Eagle and ask, “How are you doing?” he offered a one-word answer: “Fantastic.” Life to him was fantastic. He endured setbacks like everybody else, but he considered them nothing more than temporary challenges.

LESSON TWO: Have a goal. I asked Eagle once, “How did you have the discipline to keep going–practicing, eating right, training, and avoiding the bad habits most of us had as teenagers? What made you stick with athletics so faithfully?” He answered: “I wanted to catch the bus out of town.” He loved that little town,yet he knew that his talent and dedication could take him many more places.

LESSON THREE
: Never envy anyone else. Eagle grew up in very moderate economic circumstances. He could have become bitter about his school mates who enjoyed many more privileges. But he never complained. In fact, he told me once, “The other man’s grass might look greener. . .but did you ever try to mow it?”

LESSON FOUR: Don’t let others intimidate you. “Bill,” he told me, “I never think of myself as better than anybody else. At the same time, I never think of anybody else as better than me. We’re all on equal footing.”

LESSON FIVE: Prepare thoroughly. “At Calgary, I was the first player on the practice field, and the last to leave,” he explained. At Ole Miss, he had 150 plays to remember, plus their various formations. “Before a big game, I might not sleep more than three hours, as I pictured every possibility, and how I would react.” In his words, “Win before you ever hit the field.”

LESSON SIX
: Help your teammates. As head of the Motor Vehicle Division, he spent many hours preparing his board chairman for a leadership role in the meetings.

LESSON SEVEN
: Always be available to those who need you. In 1975, my mother suffered a severe stroke, and was hospitalized in Jackson, MS. I called Eagle, and told him how much it would mean if he visited my distraught, aged father. Eagle came to the hospital that afternoon. Immediately, I could see my father’s spirits lifted.

LESSON EIGHT
: Take a risk when you have the ability. Ole Miss was losing that 1956 Cotton Bowl in the closing minutes. Ole Miss had the ball, but it was fourth down. Eagle knew that Coach Johnny Vaught wanted Eagle to punt. Eagle had confidence he could complete a pass. He did, to get the first down. Shortly afterward, Eagle ran 25 yards to the five yard line. The score on the next play, plus the extra point, assured the 14-13 victory over TCU. Sports writers dubbed Eagle “The Mississippi Gambler.” He disagreed, saying he knew all along he could make the fourth down pass play work.

LESSON NINE: Take pride in your appearance. Coach Vaught instilled that in his players–“Look good, and you’ll feel like a champion.” While others welcomed “business casual” and carried it to sloppy extremes, Eagle invariably looked like a man out of Esquire.

LESSON TEN
: Look beyond human help. For many years, Eagle was active in Jackson’s First Baptist Church. He ushered and attended Tuesday Bible study lunch meetings. In a speech to a men’s group at the church, he concluded with: “Don’t remember me as number 19 (his football jersey number). Instead, remember me as a man of integrity.”

Shortly after Eagle’s untimely death, I remembered what Vince Lombardi said about the Green Bay Packers: “We never lost a game. Sometimes the clock just ran out.” I can assure you, Eagle Day was a winner in every phase of life. The clock ran out, but the score remains in his favor nevertheless.

NO SURPRISE

It’s no surprise that I tell the Eagle Day story in every motivational speech, and include it in my audio CD about maintaining maximum motivation. You can order that CD–“Always Push the Up Button”–from my Web site:

http://tinyurl.com/ljr54y

NOTE: You’ll see that “Always Push the Up Button” is available as an MP3 also.

RESPOND WITH YOUR COMMENTS
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