Hello Sweet Readers!

Hi everyone, it’s Jay Dyess (you know, the audiobook guy?), and I wanted to share a little bit more of the message that I shared in today’s sneak peek preview over on Say With Jay

As many of you know, I’m a huge University of Alabama football fan (and alum), and one of the many things I admire about Coach Saban is the effort he puts into developing players off the field. Every year he brings in multiple speakers from different walks of life: everyone from Kobe Bryant to Condaleeza Rice, Medal of Honor recipient Kyle Carpenter to Michael Jordan. But one of the most memorable for me was Emmy-winning professional baseball and basketball announcer Ernie Johnson, Jr., who spoke to the team in 2021.

Ernie spoke about a few different things, but the real focus of his speech was his son, Michael, who the Johnsons adopted after his wife Cheryl saw a news report of special-needs orphans being warehoused and forgotten in Romania. While his wife was holding then-three-year-old Michael in the orphanage, a nurse told her “Don’t take this boy, he’s no good.” Can you imagine? Thankfully, Cheryl didn’t listen, and even though Michael couldn’t walk or talk, they brought him back to Georgia. The Johnsons believed, deeply, that there is value in everyone. There is purpose, and there is value, in absolutely everyone.

Michael was soon diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, an ultimately-fatal disease where the body’s muscles waste away – most children who suffer don’t make it out of their teens. While Michael needed a motorized wheelchair and ventilator for mobility, he was able to attend Mill Creek High School in the Atlanta suburbs. Even basic communication for Michael was difficult, but his favorite phrase that he repeated to everyone he’d meet – and he’d say it even if you hadn’t said it first – was “Love you, too.”

It was at Mill Creek that Michael met teacher and basketball coach Phil Bollier, who, interestingly enough, always taught all his students how to say “I love you” in sign language: index finger, pinky and thumb extended out – and if you wiggle your index finger, that means “I love you, too”. After the coach met Michael, he approached Ernie to ask if Michael could be on the school basketball team (“his five-foot tall impact player with zero vertical leap”). He wanted Michael to teach his team maximum effort – to move any part of his body took everything he had – and to teach his team about having a heart for others.

Johnson goes on to say that on the basketball team’s senior night, the school is honoring the seniors before the game, and he and his wife follow Michael’s wheelchair onto the basketball court. He looks up into the crown to see the entire student section – hundreds of students – standing, with their hands raised, thumbs, index and pinky fingers extended: “Love you, too.” “This kid, this Romanian orphan… and this coach from Indiana, somehow got together in a gym in Braselton, Georgia, and taught this huge school about love.”

There is value in everyone. When we take the time to step away from ourselves, from concentrating on our own lives, we can find the opportunities to help others see that value in themselves. It’s a chance to “Be A Better Human”.

Michael passed away on October 29th of last year, at age 33 (a miracle in and of itself), two months after Ernie spoke to the Alabama football team. If you have five minutes today, please go and watch Ernie’s message on YouTube HERE

It’s time very well spent.

Thanks,

Jay


Laugh and be inspired as Jay introduces this sample!

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Jessie here – Jay has been doing such an amazing job on these samples – they will make you laugh – and this one might have you shedding a tear or two. Check it out and please be sure to leave a comment and hit the thumbs up!


Check out this TEN book box set new release on Audible.

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Cuddle up with a cowboy and enjoy these great heartwarming and inspirational stories of love and laughter under the wide North Dakota sky!

Book 1 – The Cowboy’s Best Friend: He’s a cowboy with a billion-dollar problem. His best friend can solve it, but it might break his heart.

Book 2 – The Cowboy’s Secret Baby: Will Ty pick up his cowboy hat and come back home? Can he convince Louise that he’ll stay this time?

Book 3 – The Cowboy’s Beauty: Can he trust her with his face? Because he’s very close to losing his heart.

Book 4 – The Cowboy’s Best Friend’s Sister: Should he follow the plan, or follow his heart?

Book 5 – The Cowboy’s Convenient Marriage: The cowboy’s not afraid of anything…except losing his heart again.

Book 6 – The Cowboy’s Fairy Tale: He’s the billionaire heir of Sweet Water Ranch. His family is throwing a ball, and he must choose a wife.

Book 7 – The Cowboy’s Secret Romance: Called The Preacher, Clay Stryker has lived a life as straight as a North Dakota highway. He made a promise to her. And she’s riding West to make sure he keeps it.

Book 8 – The Cowboy’s Bargain Bride: Can love bloom between a woman who was forced to sell herself and the man who bought her to get her ranch?

Book 9 – The Cowboy’s Enemy: Can you love someone and hate them at the same time?

Book 10 – The Cowboy’s Mistletoe Kiss: Mack didn’t trust her, but he needed someone to help him with his nieces. She needed someone to help her put on the best Christmas festival Sweet Water had ever seen. Could they trust each other enough to work together? And what about that mistletoe kiss?

Book 11 – Available to listen to for free here: youtube.com/c/SaywithJay