Tag Archives: growing older

Seize the Moment: “A Commencement Address for Meredith”

I’m old enough to realize that life is full of defining points which permanently etch memories and experiences into the fabric of your being.  This repository of life experience, both good and bad, gets bundled together into something many call the wisdom of life.

I’ve had many defining points in my life.  October 20, 1980 when I made the decision to accept Christ into my life.  February 14, 1985 when I became engaged to Miss Patricia Baird.  June 29, 1985 when Miss Patricia Baird became Mrs. Potter.  April 29, 1988 when baby Meredith entered our lives.  Two more defining points followed on January 26, 1990 with baby James and October 22, 1995 with baby Stephen.  These are major defining points in my life.  Going from being anything but a Christian to accepting Christ, being single and getting married followed by 3 babies who were looking to be fed, protected, clothed, enriched, educated and loved.  I learned alot during that stage in my life while making mistakes and growing from them.

I learned about unconditional love from my Lord, my wife and my children.  I learned about grace and mercy, giving and receiving, laughing and crying.

Now, Iam faced with another defining point in life as I anxiously wait to see my beautiful baby, now a young woman, graduate from Liberty University on May 14, 2011.  Wow, I can’t believe that we are at this point in time!  It seems just yesterday that I was holding my baby daughter.  And, now I look at a young lady who is ready to go out into the world and make a difference for those who are either less fortunate or have no one to care about them.  I am so proud of you!

After 54 years, I have learned a few lessons that I want to pass to you.

 The world is a different place with much uncertainity.  Many will cower from the challenges.  You must think and act boldly with all that you are confronted with.  Find your strength and courage not in what the world offers, but in your personal faith.  I have found that for every day I don’t immerse myself into the Word, the  distractions of this world tackle me.  This produces fear, uncertainity and unhappiness.  So, stay in the Word and be a part of a church which allows you to grow and give of yourself to others.

Clearly define your core values and live within them.  Be able to boldly articulate your values to anyone and stand fearless if the world opposes you!

Learn how to give and receive.  It worries me to see how so many in your generation just seek to receive.  It seems to almost have become an entitlement generation.  Giving and receiving go hand in hand.  My mom once said to me that you should always give more than you receive.  Giving isn’t just about money, its as simple as smiling at someone who just looks like they need to receive one.  It’s about a kind word or gesture. It’s about saying “Thank You”  to those who have helped you with anything.  Live a selfless life.

God has wired you to be a “fixer” of everything around you.  Because of that you need to learn how to receive.  People who are “givers”  become spiritually and emotionally exhausted.  You have to let others  give to you…guidance, wise counsel, friendship and love.

Having a sense of humor is an absolute necessity to survive.  I have gotten through much in my life finding something to laugh about.  You have a great sense of comedy.  Don’t let go of that and only continue building upon it.  Remember, life in many ways is just like a TV sit-com you are participating in!

Surround yourself with great friends.  My life is marked with incredible friendships.  People who care about you and you care about them. 

Strive to do the best in everything you do.  Always work hard and finish a project or task with the full knowledge that you put everything into it.  Our world is full of people who do not believe in this.  Unfortunately, many aspects of our culture today accept poor performance, attitude and lack of commitment.  My father taught me to pour your life into everything you do whether its church, school, work, family or friends.

Become a friend to those who are different from you.  Your life will be richer for it.

Read a book each month which broadens your mind and makes you think. 

In your case, sing alot!  Sing in the shower, in the car or anywhere.  When you sing, I can tell you are at the happiest point in the day!

Get a kitten because you can’t have Dixie!

Learn to cook like your momma!  It will make your future husband very, very happy!

Meredith, I am so proud of you and know that you will honor God with your life and pursuits.




Seize the moment: In Dog Years, I’m Dead!

October 28 is my birthday!  Now, I’ve reached that point where that really doesn’t excite me anymore.  I guess the good thing is that I’m having another birthday.  If my years of life were expressed in dog years, I’d be dead!

In years past, a birthday meant cake and ice cream!  I absolutely love a birthday cake covered in that wonderful lard and sugar icing!  Now, just the thought of that drives my glucose level to dangerous levels and requires an extra dose of insulin!  My childhood birthday always meant blowing out the candles to start the celebration.  Today, the first row of candles has completely melted by the time the final row is lit.  Presents then were always exciting and fun to play with.  Presents today go right into the sock or underwear drawer. 

Like an old dog, I’m reaching that point where a nice meal, a full tummy and a warm place to nap really makes the day!  And, when my wife scratches my back its just that much better. Unlike my dog whose leg bounces as you scratch his back, I’ve not quite gotten to that stage.  Thats most likely coming in future years!

Birthdays for me have become more about insuring that the world is a better place when your life comes to an end some day.  To that point, I’ve taken on the CharityWater cause.  Several months ago when I learned that 4,500 kids die daily from water related illnesses, I decided to try and make a difference.  My family and I established a fund at www.mycharitywater.org/potterfamily.  Our hope is to raise funds to help this organization put freshwater drinking wells in Africa.  My birthday is not about me, it’s about helping people who do not have clean drinking water.  This is something I absolutely take for granted.  I’m asking you to consider making a contribution to this fund.  100% of all gifts go directly to projects in Africa providing for clean drinking water!

Thank you for reading my blog!