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Just Keep Going

This past week, I had the privilege of celebrating my dad turning 83. We never know how many years we will have our parents, and as my dad continues to get older, I have found myself reflecting upon his life and what I have learned from him.

There are parts of my dad's life that I have been here to observe, and there are parts that I have only heard about.  One of the stories I’ve heard that has given me great respect for my dad is the story about his struggle to earn his college degree. The treasure I have found buried in this story is the simple message, ‘Keep going.’

My dad was the middle child of a farming family, but his dreams went beyond the farm. Wanting a different type of life, he decided that he needed to go to college. His family didn’t have much money, so the weight of making this a reality was something he chose to place and carry upon his own shoulders. My dad grew up in Morgan Mill, TX. Luckily, Tarleton University had just become a four-year university and was not far from where he lived. He enrolled and decided to major in accounting. My father paid his way through college by sacking groceries and pumping gas back in the days when people actually sacked your groceries and pumped your gas.

My dad has always been a hard worker. I’ve seen this quality in him all my life. He knew he could work hard enough, doing different jobs to earn the money he needed. What he didn’t know, however, was how he would earn the grades he needed.

To earn a degree in accounting, college algebra was a must, and unfortunately, math was not my father’s strong suit. He has often explained what he did in order to succeed in passing college algebra. The first time he took the class, it became clear he couldn’t pass, so he dropped it. The next semester, he tried again but faced the same struggle. Again, he dropped the class, but this time, he kept attending, which is a practice known as auditing. When my dad tells the story, he says, “I just kept going.” He attended every class, hoping that by continuing, he would eventually understand the material. As another semester began, he enrolled in college algebra for a THIRD time! My dad’s unrelenting strategy paid off! In his third attempt, he was finally able to pass the necessary algebra class. When telling the story, he uses phrases such as, “I just kept going” or “I just kept doing the work.” 

My Daddy was a part of the first graduating class of Tarleton in 1963! He earned his degree in accounting and went on to have a successful career in banking and then in the hospital industry.

Those simple sentences, “I just kept going” and “I just kept doing the work,” aren’t simple at all! They are the last things we want to do when we are failing! And yet, that is what allowed him to succeed!

I have wondered what gave him the determination to keep going. How did he manage to keep doing the work despite repeated failures?

I finally realized the simple answer. He made a choice.

He had decided he wanted a college degree. When things didn’t go well, he made another choice.  He wasn't going to give up. Instead, he found a way to keep learning and persevering until he eventually succeeded.

There are many qualities and characteristics I see in my dad that helped lead to his success:

· Determination: Showing firm resolve and unwavering commitment to achieving his goal.

· Perseverance: Continuing steadfastly despite facing challenges and setbacks.

· Tenacity: Holding firmly to his ambitions and not being easily discouraged.

· Diligence:  Putting in consistent effort over a long period of time.

· Resourcefulness: Finding ways to overcome difficulties and make things work despite limited resources.

· Commitment: Fully dedicated to his goals and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve them.

· Courage: Facing challenges with bravery.

All of these are true. However, I think it’s important to realize that it all began with a CHOICE. Then, when things got difficult, he again made a CHOICE. He CHOSE to not give up!

It’s such a simple thing, and yet it’s a VERY difficult thing!

It’s a lesson I know has made an impression on my life.

When my boys were little, and I was so sick, I wanted to be well! Doctors weren’t giving me any hope that I could overcome my disease but were only willing to help me manage it. I didn’t give up. I just kept going until I found what my body needed to HEAL!

When my son received a devastating diagnosis, and I was fearful of what life would be like for him, I again CHOSE to not give up! I CHOSE to explore every feasible option available. Today, he is thriving!

After experiencing church hurt, I CHOSE to keep going. Time is healing, and today, I’m happy to be a part of a church body with many sincerely beautiful people.

Now, I'm applying this lesson to my life as I’ve created my own company and am attempting to create a new career for myself as a writer, creator, and entrepreneur.


One of my favorite Bible verses has been Philippians 4:13, “I can do anything through Christ who gives me strength.”  I have never interpreted this verse to mean we can accomplish any goal we set because God will simply make it happen. What I do think it means is that a relationship with Christ gives you the needed strength to draw upon when you are faced with challenges. When faced with failure, if you are confident in the dream God has placed in your heart, you can find the strength to keep going.

Hardships and failure don’t have to mean defeat. They can serve as an opportunity to lean into your faith, trust in God’s plan, and JUST KEEP GOING.




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