“Never in my wildest dreams would I have seen this opportunity coming in my life.”
WHY? Because, many years ago if anyone would have told me I would have gotten entangled in a gambling addiction, begin recovery and maintain recovery 11-yrs let alone become a published author twice, and begin a writing and book marketing career? I would have laughed at them and say; “not in my lifetime!” But here I am! I attribute these wonderful abilities and blessings for both maintaining recovery and writing as beautiful “Gifts from GOD.”
It truly is the only way I can really describe where these opportunities came from. When we let Christ take over in our lives, you never know what blessings or surprises are right around the corner. Nor do we know where his path, his lovingly laid out path for us will go. However, I am sure enjoying the literary ride with my co-writer!
Wishing you all a very happy and blessed 4th week! ~Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
A Note From Vance Johnson:
It’s taken me 55 years to find myself. Since I was a child, I wondered why, why am I on this earth. When I started chasing fame, fortune, accolades, and acceptance, I figured it out, or at least I thought I had. My goals, success, fame, and being at the TOP of whatever I pursued was my mission. I reached those goals …I stood on the sidelines at Super Bowl listening to the National Anthem, remembering when I was 9-yrs old, telling myself and everyone else “when I grow up, I’m going to play in the Super Bowl” I then heard voices in my head, “Vance, you’re too short, too small, and a wuss. You have a better chance of making it to the moon. “WATCH ME! I said.
So, I’m writing my story, Co-Authored by, Catherine Townsend-Lyon who has guided me to be open, tell all, and learning transparency as we write. It has been an eye-opening experience, to say the least. Also, this coming season NFL films is doing a special “NFL Presents” about my journey, my sobriety, and my ‘Passion.’
Another new blessing has come, as I am excited to have been contacted by another nationally known group, a Los Angeles-based production company that creates premium documentary content. The company is run by a multiple ‘Emmy Award Winning Executive Producer and partner’ Some of their clients and partners include Netflix, CNN, A&E, National Geographic, History, Discovery, AMC, Turner, Oxygen, and Travel Channel. I won’t disclose who they are just yet, not until after they let me know their thoughts on what type of project they would like to do, hopefully with me. We will keep you posted!
Once upon a time, a young man made his dreams and God-given seeds of athletics come to fruition through faith. There he was, a young man standing, looking in awe at the crowds in the stadium and getting ready to play his first Super Bowl in 1986 as a Denver Bronco. The game, Denver vs New York Giants.
“I felt like a little boy standing there with my oversized Super Bowl Jersey on as a Denver Bronco. It was hanging off of me. At that moment I was seeing the super bowl crowds through the eyes as that little boy way back when with the drive and big dreams to make it to the NFL.”
“This is a Memoir and The Legacy of a former NFL pro–#82 wide receiver of the Denver Broncos. A man “Wide Open and Standing Redeemed” ~Vance Edward Johnson.
Note From Catherine: We have made the one year mark in our writing journey thus far. Challenging? Yes, but the journey of two writers can never be rushed. With a few roadblocks here and there, some nervous transparency decisions, and openness, and a whole lot of phone calls and transcribing, we are getting closer to “The End.”
Vance, born in March 1963 has had an interesting unique life. Not just about his college and NFL football careers, nor him making it as an alternate on the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics track and field team. God put him through some trials and tribulations to test his faith, his real abilities …Called Real Life.
Here are some highlights from the book in progress thus far. We both welcome your comments and ideas.
Excerpt One – Partial Intro Page
“There I was, a 50-year-old man chained to a hospital bed. Now a washed up broke former NFL football pro. My life spiraled out of my control. As I came out of my coma after 26 days, seeing dark shadows walking in and around my room. Looking at me while chained to my bed. I knew then it was my time. Those shadows were going to take me. Then, God came into my room, showed me his amazing power at that moment when I woke up. He showed me it wasn’t my time. I heard him whisper, “Son, I have much bigger plans and a purpose for you in your life!”
In 2012 I was hurting. Hurting emotionally and physically. My mom took me to the hospital in Colorado where I was living at the time. Since my son Vaughn’s passing, I’d gone off the rails, just killing myself with alcohol and pills. I wasn’t well. When I arrived in the ER they began some tests, and my blood work was all over the place. Before I knew what was happening the doctors put me in an induced coma in hopes to save my life.
I remained in an induced coma for 26 days. My pastor came and prayed over me as my daughter, sister, and family began to say their goodbyes. No one thought I would make it. Neither did I. I was broken, exhausted physically, mentally, and was spiritually lost and bankrupt. Another of the lowest points in my life other than my son’s passing and my suicide attempt years before.
Now looking back, as I share my life with all of you, I wondered if this was how it was all going to end. All the trials and tribulations I had been through, the loss of my son, broken relationships, many shattered marriages, hurting my family with my addictions and selfishness. Many children with a variety of women and denied some of them out of more selfishness.
As I lay in that hospital bed, still having hallucinations and visions of dark shadows and figures walking in and out of my room. Is this Satans enemy circling my bed as if to take me with him when I passed from this world? They came every day, the fear, becoming so unbearable, but they never took me with them. As a matter of fact, here is when my healing and recovery was about to begin.
Take a walk with me, and I will share with you how a man so broken can be “Redeemed, Uncovered, and once again Standing In Grace!”
My College Track & Field card and some 1984 Olympic pics where I was alternate for the USA Team, in the Long Jump.
Excerpt Two ~ High School Memories
When I began High School from 1978-81 I was a pretty shy guy at the time. My struggles with math and science seemed to follow me from middle school and became even harder. I didn’t have many friends, except for my best friend Frank who was Mexican. He said when we got to high school that we weren’t allowed to be friends any longer because Mexican’s and Blacks didn’t get along at the high school we were going to attend in Tucson, Arizona.
I was sad about this, and it hit me deeply. At that time there was still so much racism happening, and I began to notice it more when I did get to high school and like Frank told me. We never hung out much after that though. I started to hang out with the athletes, began to focus on sports more and more. I ran track and loved long jumping. I played football and a little bit of basketball. I spent most of my time in the weight room doing leg exercises because I didn’t have the upper body strength like most of the other athletes.
Being shy also meant I didn’t date initially, I did have one girlfriend, but she broke my heart early in our relationship. She had gotten pregnant by an opposing athlete who was a competitor on track and field. I focused mainly on sports; I still struggled in school a little bit with science and math, although I thought it was fun to play around and experiment in science class!
I was pretty good with shop class; I believe it was because I had been “noticed.” Was this my first taste of being a little famous? Art was my favorite thing to do, my art teacher was my favorite person in the world and spent a lot of time with her. Had never knew she was dying of cancer the whole time she was teaching our class. When I learned about it it really broke my heart.
During my first year of football, I was scared, because I wasn’t a large or tremendous sized kid. I was also not very masculine as these days it’s what you call metrosexual. I had long hair, I didn’t date, and had only had one serious girlfriend Anna. I would not go out and party, ever. I didn’t drink, didn’t smoke cigarettes or weed; didn’t even hang out with “the crowd” or even my teammates after games. I ended up getting injured after my first year of high school football and thought I would not play again to be honest.
I thought I might be too fragile or not cut out for it. Later on, I guess that’s why I always made touchdowns because I didn’t like anyone to touch me or tackle me hard. In my second year, I was moved to varsity in track and field, being the fastest in the school, and in varsity football. I did try varsity basketball but I stunk at it, in fact, I sucked. All the while domestic issues at home were still very prevalent.
My father continuously put his hands on mother. Subtle, but I remember the cries and muffled arguments late at night. Sometimes I would hope that my dad wouldn’t make it home. Maybe if he stayed out philandering and drinking all night, he would feel more guilty than pissed off. Amazing how as a child for some reason I always blamed it all on me. That just made me more determined to excel. Thinking it would make my dad less mean or not hurt my mother like he did.
So, I threw myself even more heavily into sports. I won most of all the awards, but because I was so shy? I had my sister go up and get them for me and give the acceptance speech for me too! I would always wait outside because of being too timid, shy and had a little stutter. I couldn’t speak in public because I was very nervous in front of crowds. HA, HA look at what I do now speaking all over the country and in front of hundreds all the time! …
“I realized something today after listening to my Pastor. He spoke of a conversation he had with Elvis Presley’s brother, and how his brother really died. It wasn’t Drugs, it was Fame.
It wasn’t alcohol or drugs that nearly killed me, Fame and the enemy did! Alcohol & drugs was merely a way to cope with the diminishment of my fame. It was a way to tranquilize myself because I had no identity outside of my “ego” and that fame. The cheers, accolades, commercials, 3 Amigos, a Bronco. When it all stopped, so did I.
We look at all these famous people like “Idols and Icons, wanting to be like them. Not knowing they go home and drink, do drugs just to sleep, drugs to wake up, drink and drugs to perform. Because like me, they were made into someone they were not created God to be, ICONS, self-absorbed, believing all of the hype they read about themselves.
I could go on and on about how blind I was, even the world in its pursuit to chase fame, fortune, and evil pleasures. Let me close with this.
Whatever you do, even chasing Fame, Fortune, and Popularity, do it for his good pleasure and Gods glory. Seek first the kingdom, and all these things will be added!
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.