Honoring Our Frontline Heroes: Samuel Ortega

For the last three years, Samuel Ortega has worked as a first responder for the Norton Shores Fire Department. A passion for this field arose at a young age, watching his father serve the community in Los Angeles City Fire Department in California. Sam loved visiting the station and climbing all over the trucks.

Sadly, his father passed away from ALS, which was triggered by firefighting work. The loss was devastating and for years Sam pushed away the calling to join Fire Service, but God had other plans.

Only God would know that Sam’s service would be needed at such a time as this. Even though the call volume has lowered, the stress and mental load is much heavier. Protocols are changing daily, sometimes hourly. As a first responder, being ready and adaptable is key. Even before Covid-19, the department had a certain amount of P.P.E. (Personal Protective Equipment) to wear, and now, the P.P.E. required is greater—regardless if a patient is assumed positive or negative for coronavirus.

With every case they face, our responders must recognize and face the danger. Unfortunately with Covid-19, the danger doesn’t end at the conclusion of their shift. As they return home, they dump their clothes in the washing machine and jump in the shower, hoping to protect their own families. The danger is real, but they face it for us.

Each day, Sam and his team strive to be at their best in order to keep the community safe. Sam says that it is a hard balance between doing his job safely and wanting to jump right in and help. “For the community, we keep our heads down and keep moving forward. This too shall pass,” says Sam. “While I think our normal will definitely be a “new normal” this will pass.”

We are grateful for Samuel and all first responders. Being on the frontlines is challenging physically, emotionally, and mentally. Please join us in praying for these great men and women. Please remember Sam and his family in your prayers.

And remember these last words from Samuel Ortega…“Think for yourself, don’t believe everything and anything the media tells you. Use precaution but don’t live and operate out of fear. And above all, keep your faith.”

~A Diverse Global Article, Written by Catie Cordero

Honoring Our Frontline Heroes: Tayler and Mike Kooienga

Tayler Kooienga is a healthcare worker who normally works in an outpatient endoscopy center in Grand Rapids. When that center was put on temporary closure, Tayler called Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Hospital to offer her assistance. It could have been easier or safer to remain home, but Tayler chose to go to the frontlines. She says, “I felt I had to do what I could to help.” It is with this giving, selfless heart that she serves her patients.

During this pandemic, she has worked with men and women fighting against Covid-19. Because she is not ICU certified, she cares for patients once they are off of the ventilator and making progress towards recovery and discharge.

Like Tayler, her husband, Mike, is also in the medical field. Normally, he works in a procedural area of the hospital but has been redeployed to the ICU to assist with the growing volume of patients. While the ICU stays busy, the rest of the hospital seems eerily empty. Saint Mary’s has canceled all elective procedures and surgeries that normally keep these units lively and full. Visitor restrictions also play a big role in the quietness.

While the group of patients have increased in West Michigan, Grand Rapids still hasn’t seen the vast amount of coronavirus cases like that of East Michigan. However, Tayler says that “there is a constant sense of uneasiness about when it will become as bad in this part of Michigan as they are warning us it will.”

One of biggest challenges that Tayler has seen thus far is the emotional taxation that isolation plays in the lives of her patients due to visitor restrictions. Tayler says, “As a nurse, you are one of the only in-person interactions these patients have during their stay. They can call or talk to their loved ones over video chat, but it’s just not the same as having them by your side during a difficult time. I cannot imagine how hard that must be.”

We are continually grateful for the sacrifices that Tayler, Mike, and all other healthcare workers are making to save lives. You are our heroes! We pray for protection and health to surround you as you treat and serve those in the hospital.

In closing, Tayler wanted to say this, “I would like to acknowledge and thank all the people who are putting their lives at risk on a daily basis because what they do is essential and important. We appreciate all your hard work!”
Well said, Tayler. We couldn’t agree more.

~Written By Catie Cordero (A Diverse Global Article)

What is Your Motive?

I blinked and found myself in 2018. Goodness, 2017 flew past me. And yet I remember the challenges and joys it presented. Both of which motivated me to take action. Action to pray. Action to work hard. Action to dig deeper. Action to get creative.

Action is always inspired by motivation. Without a motive, we won’t move. 

The word motivate actually means providing someone with a motive for doing something. Whenever I write a new book, I start with my main character. Who are they? What do they want in life? WHY do they want it? Their WHY is their motive. Their WHY will drive the entire story.

Likewise, you are the main character of your story. Your WHY is your motive. Your WHY will drive your life. 

My name is Catie Lynn Cordero. I want to Know Jesus Christ more deeply. I want to be a more patient person. I want to be more selfless. I want to inspire with my books and writing. I want to be debt-free. WHY? Because the person I am in this life is the legacy I leave behind me. And the person I am affects the people around me. Christ made a difference both when he lived on earth and after he rose again. Oh, that I could follow in his footsteps.

Find your WHY. Make it count. 

 

The Magic Snow Globe: A Children’s Book

I’ve dreamed of this day since I was 10. I’m not fibbing. I have wanted to publish a book for that long! And today, that dream is a reality.

The Magic Snow Globe is my debut. It’s a children’s book about twins, Willow and Wendell Potter, who purchase a special snow globe from an antique store. At night, the globe lights up and transports them to magical lands where they learn the real secret to Christmas magic.

Not only did I write the book, but I also illustrated it. I worked hard to capture the scenes that were in my mind. Each drawing was painted using watercolor and acrylic. My mother, Cindy Overbeek, an experienced painter, helped me with the painting so that each image would pop.

I desire for this book is to inspire wonder and imagination. Oh that we would set down our iPhones and get lost in a book again. Let the pictures speak to us and the words whisk us away.

I hope The Magic Snow Globe would help you dream up your own magical lands and the wonders of Christmas.

If you would like to purchase this book, it is available on amazon.com as a paperback and Ebook. (Click the highlighted text to be taken to the page)

MERRY CHRISTMAS

New Year, New Idea: Be Inspired

It’s a new year. I don’t have any big resolutions, but I have one goal: Be Inspired.

In 2017, I choose to dwell on the good, hopeful things and people in this world. I want to be inspired and motivated by them. Today, I want to introduce you to someone very special to me, who continually gives me inspiration. He is my four-year-old nephew, Levi.

levi-wheels

Levi has a duplication syndrome that affects his mind, body and development, but that doesn’t stop him. He pushes against the boundaries of his syndrome time and time again, proving that it cannot and will not confine him. 

Learning everyday gross-motor skills and patterns have not come easy, but due to his diligent parents, physical therapists, and skilled teachers, he continues to bloom. He graduated from crawling to using a walker and now has taken unaided steps on his own! He’s climbing stairs. He’s using a fork to feed himself. He’s using his “Levi” words to tell us what he wants, and boy can he be vocal when it comes to dinnertime. He laughs, plays, and exudes joy.

Even when it physically hurts and certain things are tough, Levi is not a quitter. I desire to have that kind of gusto. I want to be strong like him. I want to be persistent like him. I want to look at the world with wide eyes of wonder, like him.

Levi inspires me, and I hope his story will inspire you as well.

Have a Happy New Year and remember to look for inspiration around you. If you look, you will find it.

Release the Cat…my new motto

Sometimes, claws are a good thing.

Recently, I dressed like Catwoman for a costume party. And I quite enjoyed being a cat for the night. It was empowering. I felt like Anne Hathaway all in black ready for the attack. Yes, I was all fired up.

IMG_0795

Catwoman_450_072012

But the next day arrived, my costume was put away, and I went back to my daily apparel: t-shirt and yoga pants. Wasn’t quite as empowering. But a thought occurred to me…just because I don’t have on the costume doesn’t mean the cat is gone. She just needs to rise up to the occasion.

Life can get tough, or boring, or frustrating, or many things. It can disappoint and bring self-doubt. The mind can race with anxiety or critical, self-deprecating words.

And it in those moments, the claws need to come out and fight against the doldrums. Fight against the depression. Fight against lies Satan is whispering in your ear. It’s then that you need to: RELEASE THE CAT.

Get a little mad. Release the cat!

HA! I love this new motto. It’s completely silly and kind of stupid, but let me tell you, it does work. It helps put you in a mental place to fight.

Today, I had some internal battles and just thinking to myself: “Catie, it’s time to release the cat,” made me feel better.

Try it out. RELEASE THE CAT.

1895952378_1380293376

silly-funny-cat-5

75449-home-pets-angry-cat-ready-for-fight

An_Attack_Cat

Picture References:

http://www.hollywood.com/news/movies/34622682/the-dark-knight-rises-why-anne-hathaway-s-catwoman-is-the-best-one-yet

http://www.bubblews.com/news/1219997

http://stuffpoint.com/home-pets/image/75449/angry-cat-ready-for-fight-wallpaper

http://www.2funnycats.com/super-cats/silly-cats

http://www.hahastop.com/pictures/An_Attack_Cat