#Fulla5 NYC and Opelika are basically the same place

I’ve only been in the New York area for about 10 hours but I’ve already noticed 5 striking similarities in the New York metropolitan area and Opelika. As far as I’m concerned, we’re basically the same town, not only because Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan, the former Miss New York, is a graduate of Opelika High School and currently resides in the city, but also because of 5 more solid reasons.

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I give you the #Fulla5 in a New York State of Mind…

1) New York City has the Hudson River. Opelika has Stink Creek. The Hudson River is just like Stink Creek, only deeper. Furthermore, the Hudson goes all the way up to West Point, and I’m willing to bet that somehow you can get to West Point (Ga.) by way of Stink Creek.

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2) The New York metro area has approximately 20.2 million people. Opelika has approximately 20.2 thousand people.

3) New York City is known as the Big Apple. Opelika used to have The Big Apple, a grocery store at the corner of Ave B and South 7th.

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4) New York had Simon and Garfunkel Live in Central Park. Opelika had Adam Hood Live in Monkey Park.

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5) And last but not least, New York has the world famous Waldorf Astoria hotel, and Opelika has, you guessed it, The Golden Cherry Motel.

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And I’ve stayed at The Golden Cherry. Had I stayed at the Waldorf Astoria on this trip, it would’ve been a step down.

Jody Fuller hails from Opelika, Ala. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit http://www.jodyfuller.com.

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#Fulla5 w/ Auburn great Will Herring (@wherring54)

So, who better for my first ever #Fulla5 interview (5 questions) than 8 year NFL veteran and former Auburn standout Will Herring? I couldn’t think of anyone. He’s just a super guy. Throw in the fact that, like me, he’s an Opelika boy, and he was the perfect choice.

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He played 8 years in the NFL and I played 8 days at Opelika Junior High, so we’re basically the same guy.

Will recently went to work as a mortgage banker with Ameris Bank and is also one of the owners of The AU Club. He’s also very active in the community with organizations such as Youth For Christ. He is one busy guy.

He lives in Auburn with his wife Ashley and their three beautiful children.

At Auburn, he earned letters each year from 2003-2006 while playing safety before moving to outside linebacker his senior season. Upon his departure from The Plains, he held the school’s career record with 49 consecutive starts. He was selected in the 5th round of the 2007 NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He went on to play for the Saints and Rams, too. But his life is so much more than football.

1) How does banking compare to football? What’s more rewarding, sacking a quarterback or approving someone for their first home loan?

I can honestly say I didn’t grow up thinking I wanted to be a mortgage banker after playing in the NFL. However, both can be very fulfilling. Making a big hit to spark the defense is pretty cool, but it’s also pretty gratifying helping someone buy the home of their dreams.  It’s easy to let what you do define who you are. While playing football was a lot of fun, I tried to keep it in perspective. Faith, family, and friends last a lifetime. I always knew my football career would end.

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* http://amerisbankmortgage.com/banker/WillHerring

2) The family keeps growing. Now you have little Isaiah. To you, how are baby boys different from baby girls? How has the faith that you and Ashley share impacted your decision to adopt?

I always heard boys were way more of a handful than girls. Well, besides Isaiah being twice the size of his sisters at 11 months, he’s pretty laid back. He will hit you with a mean head butt though if you’re not careful. Years ago, The Lord put it on Ashley’s heart to adopt. He has blessed up beyond our dreams with 3 beautiful children, two of which are through adoption.

Will Herring family

3) Is Auburn the uncrowned 2004 National Champions? What’s your fondest memory from your times on “The Plains” and why? (USC was stripped of their BCS title due to infractions involving Reggie Bush.)

I think we’re ok with just being 2004 SEC Champs. Sure, we all wish we’d have gotten a shot, but it is what it is. 13-0. No regrets. I think my favorite memory was beating Tennessee up in Knoxville pretty handedly. That was the game where we realized that this was a special team.

*By the way, if you haven’t heard Will’s 2013 pre-game Iron Bowl speech, watch this. It’ll give you chill bumps. @WarBlogle added it to the highlights following the game, which was one of the most exciting finishes in the history of college football. #KickSix

4) What are your fondest memories from growing up in Opelika?

Going to eat breakfast at Tyler’s with my dad and brother after freezing all morning in a deer stand.

*I love that he keeps it so simple. Family. That’s what it’s all about.

5) So what’s new at the AU Club?

The AU Club has got a lot of great things going on. We’ve hired Robert Hines as our new chef for Clubhouse Restaurant and he’s been incredible! The restaurant is open to the public. We’re slowing chipping away at a few minor renovations in the restaurant to enhance the dining experience.

  • The list of improvements include:
  • wine lockers for members
  • replacing carpet with hardwood flooring
  • addition of historic Auburn artwork throughout
  • replacing current countertop with concrete counter top

Now that the weather has warmed up, golf is in full swing and summer is just around the corner!

*AUGolfClub.com

Be sure to follow Will (wherring54) and AU Golf Club on Twitter.

Thanks for your time, Will. War Eagle, Go Dawgs, and God Bless!

Jody Fuller is from Opelika, Ala. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit http://www.jodyfuller.com.

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Planting the Seeds (of Life)

Notice the one container in the middle without the plants?

Notice the one container in the middle without the plants?

Until two years ago, I ate very few vegetables, other than cucumbers, asparagus, and lima beans. Yes, I ate lima beans. I always have. I don’t know how anyone couldn’t like them, particularly the big fat ones. Oh, I also ate macaroni and cheese, which is, of course, considered a vegetable here in the south.

I didn’t eat corn either, and people were almost downright offended that I didn’t eat corn.

“How do you not like corn on the cob?” they’d ask.

“Because I don’t like corn on the plate,” I’d say. “I don’t care what you put it on; unless it pops and comes in a bag, I ain’t eating it.”

Fast forward to two thousand and sixteen, and there’s nothing I won’t eat. I’m talking about vegetables. I’m not ready to go all Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern quite yet. By the way, Mr. Zimmern follows me on Twitter and you should, too. @jodyfuller <— simply click right here, just saying.

Two years ago, there would've been potatoes and rice on this plate along with the BBQ chicken.

Two years ago, there would’ve been potatoes and rice on this plate along with the BBQ chicken.

This year, I even started a vegetable garden—my first one. I have everything from A to Z: basil, beans, beets, carrots, chives, cilantro, cucumbers, okra, onions, peppers, peppers, and more peppers, rosemary, squash, tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini, and likely more. Uh-oh, looks like I’m missing an A so I might need to plant some arugula.

Anyway, let’s focus on the zucchini. There’s a life lesson in everything we do. Sometimes it’s right there staring right back at us and other times we have to search for it.

I planted my zucchini seeds in these little biodegradable containers just like I did just about everything else. In fact, I planted 2-3 seeds in three of them. Two of the zucchini seedlings popped up in no time, but one was lagging behind. It was more than lagging; it was nowhere to be found. I made sure it had plenty of sunlight and kept it watered, too. While the others continued to grow, it was still MIA.

After about two weeks, I decided to dig around in the container to see if anything had sprouted from the seeds. If you are unaware of the size of zucchini seeds, well, let’s just say that they are rather large and would have been easy to find. Much to my surprise, they were nowhere to be found. Unless there is a zucchini seed thief running around in my neighborhood, I hadn’t planted the seeds.

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Just because two of them are growing strong, healthy, and obedient, doesn’t mean the third will. I did everything I could to raise those things right. I watered them, put them in the sunlight, heck I even talked to them (don’t tell anyone) yet none of that worked.

The moral of the story is that whether you’re in the workplace or home, you have to plant the seeds early on. If not, all the love, time, nurturing, and mentoring will likely be pointless. It’ll be too late or it’ll take a long time to catch up.

For the record, I discovered my error two weeks into this young plant’s life, so I fixed my situation and I think we are on track to a productive life.

Jody Fuller is from Opelika, Ala. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit http://www.jodyfuller.com.

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#Fulla5: Chicken Soup for the Soul

To quote another, yet fictitious, guy from Alabama, my concept of Fulla 5 will be like a “box of chocolates” because “you never know what you’re gonna get.”

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Mark Victor Hanson

I actually met Mark Victor Hansen, who is best known as the founder and co-creator of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series.

I’ve been very blessed to have 3 stories published in 5 different books the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul series. The first two were about my stuttering and the last was about my faith and the power of prayer. Scroll down to see the covers of each book and a sneak peak at each story.

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Click here to listen to my 15 minute podcast with Amy Newmark from Chicken Soup for the Soul

If you notice, Amy’s name is on the cover of all the books.

“A Lifetime of Stuttering” was my first story published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: From Lemons to Lemonade: 101 Positive, Practical, and Powerful Stories about Making the Best of a Bad Situation. I just write about how I went from a poor stuttering kid in Alabama to where I am now…a poor stuttering adult in Alabama 🙂

Number 1

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Here is a teaser of the first page:

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A Lifetime of Stuttering was also published in:

Number 2

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“Embracing my Uniqueness” was my second story published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive for Kids: 101 Stories about Good Decisions, Self-Esteem, and Positive Thinking. This talks focuses on my stuttering, but the bottom line is that we all have perceived flaws, and if you don’t think you have one, then guess what…there’s your flaw.

Number 3

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I found this write up from momsteam.com.

Be proud of what makes you different. Jody Fuller is a stutterer. As a kid, he hated that – it made him stand out in school when he wanted to blend in. He stayed silent a lot in class, fearful classmates would tease him about his stuttering. Then in eighth grade he realized being different from everyone else was a good thing! “I finally embraced that difference and ran with it,” Jody writes. “I always volunteered to read and even used oral presentations as an opportunity to showcase my comedic talents… I was in control and would not allow the anxiety or insecurity to control my feelings, attitude, or behavior.” Jody went on to become a speaker, comedian, writer, and soldier. “It’s never easy being a kid. It’s especially tough when you’re different, but it doesn’t have to be,” he writes. “The time to embrace your uniqueness is now.”

Read more: http://www.momsteam.com/health-safety/connecting-with-kids-through-stories-of-other-kids-say-authors-of-Chicken-Soup-for-Soul-Think-Positive-for-Kids#ixzz45pSLlHn4

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It was also published in:

Number 4

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My third story has nothing to do with stuttering. It’s about how my faith and the power of prayer produced a miracle while I was in Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning. Over 13 years later, I’m a Major in the US Army Reserves. “Miracles in Uniform” was my third story published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen: 101 Inspirational Stories about Hope, Answered Prayers, and Divine Intervention.

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My Combat Action Badge may be out of place. The struggle is real.

Number 5

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I often have my books for sale at my shows and speaking engagements. They can also be found at ChickenSoup.com.

There are more than 250 books by Chicken Soup for the Soul. Explore them all by clicking here.

Jody Fuller is from Opelika, Ala. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit http://www.jodyfuller.com.