It’s Just a Game

As I watched my daughter play basketball, I could tell by her facial expression that something wasn’t right. She’s a fierce competitor, one of those players people enjoy watching because she plays the game. She learned at an early age that no matter how the game is going, always be a good sport – a gracious winner and a gracious loser.

Her team was playing zone, and she was guarding the other team’s most prominent player. The opposing player dwarfed my daughter quite considerably. No worries there, my daughter isn’t intimidated by the size, she knows how to adjust her game and handled the other girl well.

As the game progressed, my daughter’s quickness and ability to anticipate the other player’s moves frustrated her opponent. Her opponent began to play rougher, not the usual pushing on each other, she took every opportunity to throw her elbow into my daughter’s side, scratch her with her fingernails, knock into her with her knees and hold her jersey.

My ballplayer once again stepped up her game and continued to outplay her opponent, and that’s when the verbal attack began.

As time began to wind down, and the score so close that either team could win, I could see by my daughter’s expression that she had had enough. At the time I didn’t realize that the 11-year-old girl my daughter was facing had been using profanity toward her and that was her breaking point.

Even though the outcome of the game wasn’t in my daughter’s team’s favor, my little girl hung tough and didn’t let off until the buzzer signaled the end of the game. I’m proud of my daughter. She handled herself with class on and off the court.

Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Who Am I to Judge

Why are people quick to judge? We hear it every day, and we read it every day – we’re a society that’s quick to judge. Why is this so? It’s easily justified as opinion, perception or discussion regarding the situation. After all, we’re entitled to think what we want; it doesn’t hurt anyone, correct?

To judge someone else’s actions and the outcome that affects them is human nature. We’re all guilty, and without a second thought take part. Most people aren’t intentionally malicious. We find ourselves caught up in the moment, it’s a discussion with coworkers or friends, and we all have an opinion, after all, what we have to say is essential.

The other day as I read through the news, an article that had created a lot of buzz was a group of minors being caught by law enforcement with alcohol. Everywhere I went I was surprised at the various opinions people shared that knew nothing of the situation or who was involved.

The other day as I read through the news, an article that created a lot of buzz was about a group of minors being caught by law enforcement with alcohol. I was surprised at the various opinions people shared who knew nothing of the situation or who was involved. After several days of hearing stories of when others were that age, how those youngsters were only doing what teens do, and bold statements of how law enforcement doesn’t remember when they were young – I could only smile to myself.

I never once heard anyone say how maybe this was God’s way of stepping in to keep His children safe. If just if one of those youth would have been in an accident due to their intoxicated state and life was tragically lost, then the tune would have changed to where was law enforcement, and why hadn’t they stopped the teens sooner. And through all of the talk and the opinions I never once heard anyone ask where their parents were?!

Romans 2:3: Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?

Incomplete Puzzle

I’ve been asked several times since my last post what I’ll share next. Then I was asked, why haven’t you written anything lately? There isn’t an answer as to why I haven’t crafted anything; but, I haven’t felt the peace and comfort that comes with writing. With all of the daily commitments, I’ve found myself observing, listening, reading, and just taking everything in.

It’s been a whirlwind; the weather has changed, I’m battling a cold, busy at work, crazy at home, financial stress with the upcoming holidays – I know others are facing their own stress too.

What’s missing though is the peace I feel with His Word. I don’t have an answer as to why I haven’t spent time reading His Word. It’s part of my day, but somehow that piece of the puzzle is missing.

I was in church Sunday; however, I didn’t hear what the sermon. Too much noise in my mind, I wasn’t open to what was said, I didn’t hear the message – why not?

I enjoy church and look forward to hearing my pastor’s message each week. I always learn something and walk away feeling refreshed, ready to tackle another full week of work, activities, and enjoying my family. As my morning routine began I felt as if the noise had subsided, I realized that my spiritual vision had faltered. He doesn’t send me daily reminders to spend time with Him; it’s something I do as part of my day.

I found myself skimming through 1 Samuel this morning, and am processing the words.

1 Samuel 15:34-16:21: It’s a good feeling as I work to complete the puzzle.

A Heavy Heart

Death is a part of life. One is part of the other. It’s difficult to talk about loss and yet so easy to boast about gain. Accepting the good is easy, acknowledging our accomplishments is rewarding. On the other hand, I find myself stammering for words when another life is gone.

My thoughts turn to The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It’s such an engaging story; it’s difficult to put down. The narrator, Death, draws the reader in with its emotionally stimulating monologue. Death has no gender and merely referenced as it.

As daunting as it was to read Death’s words I felt compelled to learn more about what it had to say. With every word I read, I tried to suppress my emotions, after all, it’s just a story of a young girl living in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust, but written about one of the most tragic topics ever, the Holocaust – so much pain, suffering, and death.

Accepting the loss of a loved one, a friend or even those that touch our life isn’t easy. It doesn’t matter what their age or how they died, the fact that they’re no longer with us is difficult to accept. We’re afraid to let go, and if we acknowledge our feelings we may lose them, correct?

I’ve always believed it’s healthy to grieve, that it’s a process, something everyone does differently. I should acknowledge my feelings so I can say my goodbyes knowing that God has been there all along. What a comfort there is in trusting God to handle everything allowing me to rejoice in life and be comforted with fond memories of a life that has left this earth.

Romans 14:8: For whether we live, we live unto the Lord, and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

Always Brightens My Day

Each day I look forward to a visit from a very dear friend, someone who always brightens my day with his smile and a story that he shares. My dear friend has lived a life that I will never truly understand. At a young age, he served our country, has worked hard his entire life, he’s an honest man, and he’s thankful for all of God’s blessings.

Today my friend greeted me with his cheerful hello and asked if I was working hard, followed by his boisterous laugh. My chuckle preceded my daily answer don’t I always? This response makes him laugh more as he steps into my office.

I stop what I’m doing to spend some time with him. I never know what he’s going to share with me; it doesn’t matter, I’m always excited to hear what he has to say. He asks if I have ever been to Belgium. I haven’t and inquire about his time there. As I listen, I try to picture him as a young soldier during World War II as he traveled to a foreign land to serve his country. Unfortunately for me, the only visual I can put together doesn’t honestly depict what he experienced.

I can see in his eyes that his memories are clear and he talks as if he was still there. He’s gracious enough to only share the good with me. On occasion, he’ll talk about someone he served with and share a story or two about their time together.

Even though his visits are brief, I cherish each one as I thank God for bringing this amazing man into my life.

John 15:13: Great love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

What makes us happy?

If I were rich, I would be happy, correct? If I had a rewarding career, I would be satisfied, maybe? If I had a newer vehicle, I would never need another, right? And the list goes on and on – what defines happiness? Have you thought about what makes you happy? The other day as I was out for my morning run along the trail I was focused on the view. It was serene as the sunlight filtered through the trees and danced along the ground. The only sound was the crunch of fallen leaves beneath my shoes; it was hypnotic. With each breath, crisp, fresh air tickled my nose. It was peaceful, just Mother Nature and me.

I began to think about my life, my family and how good I feel about myself. Without hesitation, I thanked God for His many blessings and realized how happy I am with what He provides and how He answers my prayers even when it’s not what I expected.

Psalms 37:3: Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed.

What frightens you?

Something frightens everyone, yes it’s true even if you’re not willing to admit it. People share their fear of heights, spiders or snakes, but how often will someone share what really holds them back?

As a society we’re taught to not burden others with what really bothers us, what keeps us awake at night, what holds us back. From an early age we’re told to only talk about the good in our life, what greatness He has blessed us with so no one knows what weighs us down; after all, you wouldn’t want people to hear you complain.

So many times I settle in to write and find myself distracted, I’m always thinking of other things that need my attention. At times I ask myself if I’ll find time to finish my novel or write a piece that attracts a publisher’s attention. In turn, I’ll ask myself why I am I so afraid?

The other day as I was running between the numerous weekend activities I found myself writing in my head. I effortlessly pieced together the next chapter of my novel, but yet the ideas that flowed in my mind never made it any further. As always, I told myself that if I had been in front of the computer or had my notebook with me, then I would have penned this fantastic chapter. Was I being truthful with myself?

I’m always wondering what holds me back from writing. My thoughts turned to the first story I wrote, I was a second grader. I wrote about an adventurous turtle complete with my artistic take on how this little turtle looked throughout the story. I tried to remember how the tale formed or if I struggled with this second-grade assignment; the only thing that came to mind was my teacher’s encouragement to continue writing, and so I have.

I’ve written a variety of pieces over the years, each one has benefited so many others. It’s always been easy to stand quietly in the background satisfied with how well my work turned out while others receive unearned accolades. And then I realized… I’m afraid to have this task SUCCEED!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had success at what I do; however, if I would indeed complete my first novel or have a piece picked up by a publisher – LIFE CHANGING! Oh my, a frightening thought indeed.

1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

What’s Right with this Picture?

Each day we’re blessed with a fresh start, a chance to start anew. What an amazing gift we’ve been given, but all too often without realizing how we take this for granted, it slips away. The daily grind of work, shuffling children to and from, running errands, meeting deadlines – wears us down. At the end of the day, it’s easy to find so many things to grumble about.

We tend to let the negatives flood our thoughts; after all, misery loves company. What happened to make you feel so down? Was it really that upsetting when your supervisor was critical of your work? Did your coworker realize they hurt your feelings? Were you really that angered when that car cut you off in traffic? STOP!

Take a deep breath and honestly think about your day. How did it begin? Were you greeted by your children with smiles and hugs? Did your spouse pull you close for a good morning kiss? Were the birds singing as you stepped outside? Were you able to catch the morning colors of the sky as the sun crossed the horizon? Did someone brighten your day because they took time to smile?

Knowing that we’ve been given a precious gift, one that only He can provide, challenges us each day to work His will and be His hands as He wants the best for us.

Psalm 118:23: This is the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.

Life is too short to do just one thing! Each day is a blank page – write your story!