• January 19, 2010
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Baby boomer Kay Marshall Strom tells us how to go from ordinary to extra-ordinary

We have a special guest blogger today. Kay Marshall Strom, author of nonfiction baby boomer book, The Second-Half Adventure: Don’t Just Retire – Use Your Time, Skills & Resources to Change the World (Moody Publishers), is here to tell us how to go from ordinary to extra-ordinary!

Ordinary Second-Half Adventurers

by Kay Marshall Strom

So, what kind of people seek out a Second-Half Adventure? Who decides simple retirement isn’t for them? That sleeping late and golf and such is all well and good but they would rather use their lifetime of accumulated skills and resources to change the world?

Well, as it turns out, lots of ordinary people. And some pretty extra-ordinary ones, too.

You would probably consider Charlie extraordinary—unless you also grew up in a mafia family. Charlie knew two things: power and money. He learned early how to get what he wanted, often through intimidation. As an adult, he started a financial planning business, and it was hugely profitable. Charlie was a tough guy, he had money, and he had power. True, at forty-three his third marriage was about to end, but he would see that it ended on his terms. Then a strange thing happened. Charlie’s wife went to church. He mocked her and he ridiculed her, but she went anyway. When he saw he wasn’t going to stop her, he grudgingly agreed to attend with her on an Easter Sunday. And—miracle of miracles—Charlie encountered God.

When Charlie discovered church people have the same money problems as everyone else, he offered to donate his financial services. He also started teaching classes on financial responsibility.

“Most people are surprised to learn there is more in the Bible about money than any other subject,” Charlie says.

But Charlie did more than just teach; he lived his lessons. Within two years, he and his wife were debt-free. He sold his business and committed to work full time with Crown Financial Ministries—an interdenominational organization dedicated to teaching biblical financial principles and helping people apply them.

“Christians should model good financial stewardship,” Charlie insists. “Imagine if we pointed the way in these hard financial times by living without debt!”

Okay, so Charlie isn’t ordinary. But Kathy would certainly describe herself that way. When her engineer husband, Clint, was tapped to go with a group from their church to Venezuela and make a business presentation to university students, Kathy decided to tag along. At the last minute, she put together packets of a quilt block she had developed and stuck them in her suitcase. Fifty of them.

Her husband never got to give his presentation. But to everyone’s amazement, an entourage met the American group at the airport. It was there to meet Kathy. “We heard about the quilt and we’ve got a lot of women who are interested,” they said. “We hope you have enough supplies for ninety women.”

Kathy didn’t. So Clint put away his presentation notes, picked up a pair of scissors, and got busy helping Kathy cut out the twenty-five piece sets—each piece representing an element of Jesus’ story of the Woman at the Well.

On second thought, Kathy and Clint aren’t so ordinary either. Kathy’s self-assurance and Clint’s gentle refusal to insist but-I’m-the-one-with-the-valuable-skills-here! are rare traits indeed.

Now, John, though—he insists no one could be as ordinary as he.

John spent his entire life working as a bread delivery truck driver whose day started at four a.m. Two years ago, he retired, but a lifetime routine of getting up so early isn’t easy to change. John is still out of bed at four, but now he sits down immediately at his computer and logs in to his personal site at GMO, an organization that uses cutting-edge technologies to respond to spiritual questions from people around the world.

“I’m never lonely,” John says of his early morning sessions. “Somewhere in the world, someone with a pressing question is always up at that hour.” And, thanks to the training GMO gave him, John feels comfortable offering answers. Even to people in Ghana… or Ethiopia… or India…

Come to think of it, second half adventurers are all ordinary people. They just become extra-ordinary because of the way they choose to define their lives.

Kay Marshall Strom is the author of thirty-six published books, including her most recent, The Second-Half Adventure: Don’t Just Retire-Use Your Time, Skills & Resources to Change the World. Her writing credits also include magazine articles, short stories, prize-winning screenplays, booklets for writers, and anything else that will help make the house payments. Kay is an in demand speaker at events throughout the country. She and her husband Dan Kline love to travel, so Kay encourages writing and speaking assignments in far flung corners of the globe. To find out more about Kay, or for contact information, check her website at www.kaystrom.com.

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