Stuck in the place I'd rather be!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Extraordinary Brilliance

Some days are good. Other days are great. Every once in awhile you happen on a day that is extraordinary. Today has been one of extraordinary brilliance. I have always loved sports. While coaching the football cheerleaders and raising boys of my own, I began to learn and appreciate football. Baseball has a special place in my heart since it was really the first sport any of my children played and some pretty special people in my life played as well, but basketball. Basketball is a different story. Basketball is MY game. I have loved basketball for forever. Now, when you couple your love for a sport with an intense love for the players, you experience the extraordinary, particularly when you watch them make history. Like an undefeated season. Back to back championships!

As a teacher, a coach and a parent, there are days I feel beat down. Times that I question myself and my ability to do my own life more or less impact the lives of the children in my care. Times that I want to quit, give up, and run away. However, there are moments like today. Moments filled with pride and happiness and joy. Moments that when I look at the faces of those children, I think maybe I am doing something okay.

Sports are unique in that they hold special potential to teach children life lessons. Perseverance. Determination. Humility. Grace. Support. Failure. Success. Confidence. Leadership. Hard work. Listening. Seeing. There are more, but you get the point. I played sports and loved it (most days), but I believe I love helping children develop and grow and learn sports even more than I did playing.

For the girls…
This season I watched a young lady who swore she couldn’t shoot, without using two hands to push the ball up, become the high scorer in a game. She would grab me by the arm and say, “Come help me shoot.” She wanted to be better. I watched another young lady find her ability to lead her team. Even when she wasn’t comfortable in a position, she played it with fervor. She wanted to be a team player. Another young lady struggled to find her shot, but that didn’t slow her down once on defense (and eventually she found that shot). She wanted to help her team. I watched as this team ASKED to have practice because they wanted to work. They wanted to WIN. And they did just that. For the first time in school history, the middle school girls went undefeated. For the first time in school history, the middle school girls won back to back region championships.

For the boys…
This season I watched a group of young men work together to become champions. There was one young man I was particularly proud of this year. At the end of my son’s sixth-grade year, he asked me if I thought he could make the basketball team. My immediate response was, “You’ll never know if you don’t try.” Here’s the thing Billy hadn’t played much basketball…maybe once in recreation. I was so excited he wanted to try out. He played summer basketball with the school team that summer and as an upcoming 7th grader, he played a minimal amount. He was a really green player. He didn’t yet truly know the game. During tryouts of his seventh-grade year, he broke his kneecap. Who breaks their kneecap? The cast came off at the very end of the season, so he played maybe a total of 3 minutes that year. Then summer ball returned and provided him with some minutes and opportunities to learn the game. 

Now to this season…
Billy’s absolute biggest challenge is his confidence. However, Billy’s coach always believes in him. He always gives him words of encouragement and praise. He coaches Billy the way Billy needs to be coached. I only wish I could verbalize to his coach how much that means to me. At home Will and I give Billy reassurance of his skills and discuss ways to improve his game. He listens (well at least when I am talking about sports…not so much when I ask him to clean up or do homework). Billy is a coachable kid. However, confidence is the key for Billy to play his best.

For the sweetest part of this season…
Before the first round of playoffs, I sent Billy a text and told him that I would be praying for him to play with extreme confidence. Now, when I tell you that Billy played the best game he had played all year that day, I tell you no lie. That, my friends, is the straight truth. He looked so comfortable and natural on that court. He looked like he belonged. He really did play with confidence. As he and I were talking about the game and I mentioned how confident he played, he said, “Because we prayed for that, Mama.” My heart, be still. Yes, sir, we did! The best life lesson of all was learned on the court. God is the giver of all things.

And to the championship game…
Billy can shoot. He has a beautiful three-point jumper, but he hasn’t been able to get it to fall in a game. In practice, he can shoot it all day. In a game, NEVER. Today though, that baby hit TWO threes. You can only imagine the pride bursting from my heart!! I am humbled and thankful for a God who answers prayers. I don’t believe God has a favorite team he chooses to win, but I do believe God can use a simple prayer to plant a seed in a young boy’s heart.

Today, I watched a group of boys play TOGETHER more so than they have all year. A life lesson learned!! Today, I watched a group of boys fight until the very end. A life lesson learned!! Today, I watched a group of boys savor the enjoyment of winning. A life lesson learned!! Working together and never giving up brings success.

I love each of these children. I am thankful I have had an opportunity to be a small part of their journey and only hope at some point during that time I have shown them a little bit of Jesus.

Five hours later and my heart is still racing because of the brilliance that was today. 

Go Trojans! Back to Back Champs!!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Believe in the Process

One of the purest and most beautiful things to witness is a person recovering from an addiction. Too often the world does one of two things to an addict: 1. Ignore that the addiction exists which allows the addict to be consumed with no way out or a will to fight 2. Ostracize the addict creating an internal struggle with feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness. World, your polarized view of addiction is causing you to miss out on watching a beautiful process unfold.

As addicts begin their recovery journey you will find that: Addicts are broken. Addicts are real. Addicts are grateful. Addicts are understanding. Addicts are accepting. World, can we use these same adjectives to describe ourselves? Because if you aren’t an addict, chances are you either don’t struggle with an addictive personality or you have not admitted to yourself that you are an addict. I personally have never struggled with addiction, but I’ve had close friends who have. I’ve learned to see the beauty in the recovery journey. I have learned to embrace the realness, ugliness, and brokenness of our worldly lives.

While I was in grad school, one of my dearest friends called me at an ungodly hour to tell me he was an alcoholic and was entering a rehab facility. It so happened that his treatment facility was in the town I was living. I watched him as he grew and accepted his addiction as part of his journey to prepare him for so much more. It just so happens that my friend became a preacher. Don’t you just love a good redemption story? Redemption is available for ALL sinners including addicts.

Are you struggling tonight with your own addiction? Are you having trouble admitting that one of your family members have a substance abuse problem? Unfortunately, time is not on your side for taking that first step. Tonight might be the night that driving while intoxicated causes a life-ending crash and the life that ends might not be yours. You may refuse to believe a person close to you has a problem and tomorrow you may find that person lifeless on the floor of their apartment. Obtain the redemption that is readily available for you or help someone realize they need that redemption. Don’t continue to live as a captive in this life. Refuse to allow the world to dictate your view of addiction. Allow God to use your (or your sister’s or son’s or wife’s or friend’s) addiction to reveal your (his/her) journey.

I understand that drugs or alcohol (or porn for that matter) have a lure over you. You believe they can fill a void in your life or provide a stress release. However, that void you are trying to fill will NEVER be filled with things of this world. There is only one who can set you free from the need to saturate yourself with the evils of this world. God! He can give you the courage to admit you have a problem. Once you do that, your love journey will begin. You can begin to truly love yourself and that love will then flow to those people surrounding you.

There are people in this world who will condemn you for your addiction. However, there are people like me who will celebrate you and your journey. There are people who will love you through the ugly and celebrate with you through the triumphs.

I understand the hold an addiction can have over a person. I have watched as people ignored their family. I have watched as people stole from their friends. I, personally, have been cussed out in my front yard by someone who I thought loved me unconditionally. And you know what she does love me unconditionally, but her addiction has stripped her of her identity and ability to recognize how damaging her actions really are.

Addicts, do me a favor…stop blaming others. Admit that you have a problem. Find the help you need to end your dependence.

World, do me a favor …stop ignoring and ostracizing the addict. Believe in the recovery process because that process begins something pure and beautiful, and it will provide breath where once there was nothing.

Here’s a link to a hotline if you find yourself needing to connect with someone about your addiction tonight:

Message me or a friend or a relative if you need someone to talk with. I may not be a professional addiction specialist, but I am a believer that God provides just the right people in our lives for just the right moments.

Addicts…I love you! World…I love you! God…I love you the most!!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Finding my tribe

I have always felt like I needed someone or to be part of some group. I supposed we are designed for fellowship and community, but I believe we have trampled on the intended idea of community. I believe community was intended by the maker to be all inclusive. However, I too often see limits placed on community and fellowship. Groups quickly become exclusive. We exclude people for so many reasons. I know personally I felt excluded from groups of people from grade school to adulthood. I still have many moments were I don’t quite feel like I belong. Those moments suffocate me. Those moments cause me to question myself but more so question how people are oblivious. Then, I remember I am an overanalyzer and maybe I truly see and feel things on a deeper level than other people. BUT, it is so simple to understand people…LISTEN. Be present, truly present when you are together. Notice the little things…voice inflections, eye contact, facial expressions or lack thereof. Listen to the words they say as well as the ones they don’t. We tell each other so much without even speaking, but in our society we are so concerned with “me” or “our little group” or our phones that we miss what those around us are telling us through their silence.

Now, I am not pleading out. I too can be consumed to the point I don’t interpret what people around me are feeling, but that is not who I want to be. I have thought long and hard about MY tribe. You hear talk about loving your tribe or finding your people. Over the past year I realized, the quest for my tribe actually killed my vibe. When you want so much to be included, your heart aches when you realize you weren’t a thought or worse you were an afterthought. The death of my vibe doesn’t make for a very social Lana.

Several people from my high school class got together this past weekend, and I intentionally didn’t go. I kinda feel bad that I didn’t go now. But you see I smiled at high school graduation. I didn’t really shed a tear because I felt totally lost and out of place among people who once made me feel alive. High school is a treacherous place in and of itself. It is the birthplace to the exclusive social group (well maybe middle school). While I was in high school, my daddy died. Losing a parent at any age is difficult, but high school is a pretty pivotal time. Two weeks to the day after my daddy died, my granddaddy died. Before the end of the month, my dog had gotten killed. It was a brutal time. I retreated away from most people. I didn’t want to be a part of anything. I cried myself to sleep most nights. I cried until there were no more tears. I grieved away from the crowd. During this time, my boyfriend was my rock. He was all I needed. (I ended up marrying him) When I was able to cope and was ready to reemerge to the land of the living, I was different. My friends were different. I no longer had a place with them. It was a hard two years for me. So, when I got the chance to reminisce about high school, I really didn’t want to. I suppose though that wasn’t fair to the people who did. I apologize because there were some really great moments in high school too.

Thinking about high school caused me to reexamine me. I was different after losing my daddy and that loss continues to mold me into a gentler, a more giving, open, and compassionate individual. And it is in that molding that I realize my tribe is my journey. I have met some of the most extraordinary people over the course of my life. There are people who I briefly knew who changed me. There are people who I feel I have known forever but never see who are there when I need them. There are people who come and go frequently yet their visits or texts have the ability to grow me into a more loving person and faithful servant. There are four specific people I live with who hold a huge chunk of my heart and have taught me to experience love on a whole new level. Finally, there are people I am continuing to meet, and I am looking forward to the fellowship they will bring and the lessons they will impart.

So, I say all of that to say this. If you are like me and don’t feel like you fit in, look past the immediate circle you aren’t included in and find opportunities to fellowship with those who need your presence. God provides us with people who need OUR fellowship. Don’t let yourself be blinded by the people who can’t see you. Also, be careful not to hurt those around you by not being present. Listen with your heart to their words and to their silence. Tell them you love them or you are proud of them or you are praying for them. Send a text. Hug a neck. Pat a back. Be more of the person God intended your to be. Inclusion and fellowship can mean so much to a person in your path not just those in your immediate social circle. #bepresent #godsloveisinclusive

I pray, Lord, you consume all of my heart and then allow my heart to gracefully guide my words and actions towards those people you place in front of me. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Tis Only a Season

What comes to mind when you think about seasons? It very well may be the beautiful colors of fall or the glistening of freshly fallen snow or the excitement of new growth or the wonder found in the freedom summer holds. In Georgia we like to pack all four seasons into one week because if we are honest, the majority of the year is spent slinking around the fiery gates of hell. If there is one thing South Georgia knows how to do, it is HEAT. We don’t really  have clear-cut seasons or at least our seasons don’t last longer than a little while -- maybe a few weeks. Okay, okay, a few days. Maybe that’s why I have been struggling with the idea of seasons lately. Maybe I believe I am supposed to remain in the same season ALL the time, but I’m NOT. I don’t think I was ever supposed to. I am learning that. More.Every.Single.Day. And you know, I am okay with seasons ending and new ones beginning. However, it took me a quick second to be okay with it, but my eyes are focused on God’s timing and planning more clearly now. He’s perfect y’all!

I am a firm believer God places us in situations or locations or around certain people for a season. Those seasons may be like summer in Georgia. You may flourish in that one particular season for an extended period of time, but then again it may be like winter in Georgia. You may only be in that season for a brief moment because He needs you elsewhere.

I REALLY struggle with my life calling or purpose. I bet you know people who knew they were called to be a preacher, teacher, doctor, housewife or whatever since they were like 10. Well, I am not those kinda people. I never felt called to a specific profession per se. I didn’t become a teacher for education’s sake. Instead, I used my placement in the education field as an opportunity to minister, and if I am honest, to be ministered to. When I left teaching college to enter into a public high school, I was doing it more to be on a schedule with my own children than to follow a call, but I immediately fell into the exact season God needed me. I was exactly in the place God wanted me ministering to the exact people God divinely placed in my path. I was absolutely undeniably where I was supposed to be. It was perfect!! Well, it was perfect until it wasn’t. During my last year at the high school, unhappiness crept all over me almost becoming palpable. I no longer wanted to be at the high school. My joy was slowly being depleted. I was hurting. I was hesitant. I wasn't sure I wanted to remain.

Was I just being selfish? Was I allowing Satan to trump the Savior? Wasn’t I following God’s call on my life? If I left, would I be being disobedient to God? I grappled with my wanting to leave. Why would my joy leave if I was supposed to be there? Why would God take away that joy? Maybe God didn’t take it away? Maybe it was hijacked?? I just didn’t know, but I did leave the high school and headed to the elementary school. I wasn’t certain I was doing the right thing. I still grapple with that decision.
However, looking back I believe it is very simple…the season ended. I had done the work that was needed for that particular harvest. What is even better now that I can look back is that I realize that just because a season ends doesn’t mean the season is forever over. Seasons offer rebirth and renewal each and every year. Isn’t that an amazing concept -- the seasonal ebb and flow? I very well may end back up at the high school one day, and I will be perfectly fine if that is where God leads and needs me. He continues to move me into new places with new missions focusing on new people. Just as God is in control of the seasons each year, he is in control of the seasons of time in each of our lives.

I have found that you have people you believe will be in your life forever, who leave. You have people who you never expected to even be in your life become your forevers. You have people leave and those same people return when the time is right. God’s timing is perfect y’all! You may feel at home somewhere and all of a sudden feel like a stranger. So, trust in the journey and seek the place God has prepared just for you. Don’t for one second believe that God would ever lead you somewhere that doesn’t set your soul on fire or surround you with people who don't accept and love you for who you are.

“And this is the plan: At the RIGHT time He will bring everything together under the authority of Christ-everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for He chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to His plan.”   Ephesians 1:10-11

God’s got plans for you my dear friend. The people you fall in love with are there for a purpose. The people who crush your heart are there for a purpose. The job you adore is there for a purpose. The job you detest…yep…it has a purpose too. The people who tear you down. The people who build you up. The strains and burdens. The joys and triumphs. The trials and victories. They were all put in your path to prepare you for what lies ahead of you.

This morning the preacher spoke of remember when moments. He said, “When you get a victory from God, remember it because it is in the remembering of that victory our confidence in God is built.” How absolutely breathtakingly true is that statement!!! I sure needed to hear that this morning. You have NO idea, but that’s another day and another blog post.

Remember when (see what I did there) I talked about my time at the high school? You see the ONLY reason I was at that particular church this morning to hear that particular message I needed to hear is because one of my favorite people (who happened to be a high school student during my tenure there) started dating a particular girl who happened to live in another town. She became and still is one of my favorite people (even though they broke up after four years L) Anyway…

That particular girl grew up and was helping plant this particular church in a neighboring town. When she was talking with me about this particular church, I knew if the other people at this church were anything like her, I needed to experience it. I am sooooo glad I did because I am certain God has placed me exactly where I need to be in order to minister to exactly who I need to minister to. See how He worked all of that out soooo many years ago. Don’t you just love to FEEL the presence? I am still waiting to see exactly what form this new victory will be for me, but I am excited to experience it.

So, if you are hesitant about the seasons of your life, remember God is preparing you! Celebrate this season because like our preacher said this morning, “God can do much more than you think you can.” Paul tells us this same thing in Ephesians 3:20, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish INFINITELY MORE than we might ask or think.” So, go…Be MORE!!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

And then I cried

My soul hurts tonight. I struggle most days because I come across as a bitch. This is not a new phenomenon. I have been hearing, “I thought you were a bitch until I got to know you” for as long as I can remember. However, it always pleases me once people get to know me and learn my heart. I’m the first to admit my mouth and my heart don’t always match. So, I’ll be honest and acknowledge I can be a real bitch at times, but I don’t want to be. I’m terrified tonight people may have construed my actions as bitchy when they were more signs of frustration which later turned into brokenness.

Sports bring out the best in people. Right? (Insert laughing until you cry emoji here)

Will, my husband, and I faithfully coach recreation teams (football, basketball and baseball). We’ve been doing it for more than 10 years. I have also coached school teams and squads. One of my favorite parts about life is being involved in the lives of players and watching them grow as athletes and people. I can only hope that through my years somewhere along the way, I did make a difference and wasn’t too much of a bitch.

However after tonight, I am not sure I will be back. I NEVER want to display anything but positive behavior in front of children. I NEVER tolerate children using the term, “They’re cheating” when referencing a call by a referee or an umpire. I strongly believe ONE call doesn’t determine a game. I try my very best to help and cheer on all the players on the rec field/court.

I have taught my personal children to ALWAYS acknowledge a good play or effort even by the opponent especially on the recreation level because those are those boys who will be their teammates one day. I have tried to do my best at this too. Have I failed at times? Probably so. Hell, I’m a parent! Don’t we always want the most FOR our own children? Yes, I do. I can admit that!!

But at the rec department, I genuinely try to be an encouragement as well as a voice of reason because these little children can be brutal with the smack talk. I teach elementary school and the things I hear from even the littlest mouth makes me sad. It’s just a game, children! We will all be on the same team one day.

So, what was so bad tonight? The books. When I say I really don’t care who won or lost tonight, I honestly mean that! I, of course like most people, love to win. So, yeah, I wanted the “W.” However, it’s recreation ball. It’s not that big of a deal. I generally don’t question things at the game. I just go with the flow and let whatever happens happen, but tonight I was confused and simply wanted to see the difference. When I saw the official book, I immediately noticed the error. I tried to explain how the play went down, but whatever. I’m not even upset about the books being wrong anymore. Keeping the book is hard.  After the game, I asked the umpire if he remembered the play and he agreed with my book…but again…it was over. So, I didn’t acknowledge it. Like I said, I don’t care who won. I would have liked the score to be right just because it does mean something to these kids, my kid.

But I said my soul was hurting. So, what hurt me? Another adult!! He said to me, “You don’t have to be out here” when we were discussing what was going on with the book. Now that HURT my feelings. I don’t fuss normally and definitely not in front of the players. I teach those kids and don't need to see me having a fit. So, I don't. EVER! The parents of the children/players I have taught/coached will back me up on this. I even said to the adult, “You know I don’t usually fuss.” His response was, “Well you are right now.” And I suppose to some degree I was. But his words hurt me on a much deeper level because I thought he respected my devoting my time and energy to this program.

I don’t just let things go. I can’t. I hold on to them. They linger in my head. My soul aches over them. My internal workings are a little screwed up like that. Tonight, I kept myself as composed until I got to my van and then I cried. I cried most of the way home and am still crying now.

Really, I don’t have to be out there? You don’t need me? Okay, then maybe I won’t return…

Because I NEVER want to have a negative impact on a child. I never want my actions or words to teach a child to be anything but positive and kind even in extreme circumstances. I know I have failed at this. You don’t have to tell me or even roll your eyes when you read this. I know!! I do wish you could directly see my heart though and then you would understand how well I know my daily failures. The amount of anxiety I have over things I have said or done is astounding. I want and desire to show others the love of Christ. I want to be able to show His level of forgiveness too. And on some days I simply don’t.

I promise I don’t want to be a crazy bitch. I really don’t. I know I can be, and I apologize for that. I promise my heart hurts more than you can fathom for making someone feel any sort of way. Life is so freaking hard! There are days I feel more like a failure than a success on the important things in life. We too often let the trivial become more important than the meaningful…family, relationships, showing love and supporting others. That's what matters!

For those of you who know me well, I am not worried about how you see me because you HAVE seen my heart and you know the truth. You are the people that literally keep me going when I don’t feel like I can go anymore. I can never repay those people for giving me hope and happiness.

For those of you who kinda know me, I promise you I am so much more than you think. Under the big and loud exterior, there is an anxiety-laden, slightly depressed little girl who simply wants love to rule her life. She prays that in some SMALL way she’s helped someone else feel loved. She prays she can be forgiven for all the times she may have made someone feel anything other than loved.

Tonight, she prays that she can find the courage to return to the ball field!!!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Life Letdowns turn into Lessons on LOVE!

Generally speaking, aren’t jobs supposed to get easier the longer you do them? Well, I have decided that parenting is no generality. The longer I parent the more I question my skills, and it really has less to do with actually parenting my children than it does with handling all of the outside forces that come into play…friends, other parents, school, sports, coaches, processing disorders, and other such things.

I constantly question my choices on all things because I am an over analyzer and worrier anyway. So, throw in the outside sources and I am surprised I haven’t developed an ulcer this school year. 

At one time in this life of mine, I loved people. I would have even consider myself a people person. Imagine that! I used to give my Mama hell for being an unsocial hermit, but I got older. I experience the uglier sides of people. The older I've gotten and the more experieces I've had, the more respect I gain for a life secluded from people. To be honest, I actually hate that I feel like a misanthrope.

However, when the people and institutions in your life that are supposed to hold you up when you can’t hold yourself up falter and let you fall, you lose your confidence in humanity, and in that loss you find yourself becoming bitter and jaded. And slowly your personality changes. You build walls. You push people away. You say things you might want to take back. You struggle. You hurt. You lay awake at night consumed with thoughts. Throw your children in the mix and these thoughts and feelings are amplified because you do all of the above on their behalf too. Don’t forget your spouse. His worries and letdowns become yours too. 

I’ll be the first to admit the person who I have become is not a person I am proud of or even like very much, but as life continues to get messy, I find it harder and harder to pull myself up out of the drowning waves of people and return to the person I am meant to be. The people who let me down or hurt my children or make my husband feel some sort of way have damaged me in a way I am afraid is changing me permanently. 

But I can’t let that happen. That is not the person God needs me to be. I can’t let the bitterness and selfishness of the world change me into those things. What I have to do is learn that I am not designed to depend on people because they are not the ones I have been called to live for.

I can’t expect others to put my children first that is my job. I am my children’s advocate.  No matter what classroom they are placed I will make it my mission to ensure their learning disabilities do not limit their opportunities. No matter how loud a coach yells at them and makes them question themselves I will make sure my words of encouragement are louder. No matter how cruel the playground is I will teach them to always rise above (even though I still struggle with that myself). No matter what, my children will know they are loved. Because they are. I LOVE them with all of who I am.

The love I have for my children reminds me just how important we are to God. When I think about the ruthlessness of my words or actions when my children are in the mix, I prove how unconditional God’s love is for His children. At some point this year, each of my children have been treated in a questionable manner. In each situation, my mind ran an emotional marathon questioning how to handle the situation with them or for them.  I was consumed with how to make things better making sure my kids didn’t give up or get upset. God does that for us, doesn’t he? 

God is consumed with making our life better. He wants the absolute best for us. He will fight for us when we can’t fight for ourselves. He will cheer for us when others don’t. He will love us when we think we aren’t worth loving. God will  lift us up when others tear us down. God doesn’t give up on His children. He keeps pushing them until they are actually doing his will without even realizing it. Like right now….see…

God has been on me about writing, and I’ve continued to push it to the background saying I will do it later. How bout in the midst of writing this blog post God started pulling me above the waves, which have been drowning me, with the words I was typing. He was willing me to write. He was changing me. Changing my heart. Giving me purpose. Giving me Hope. Don’t you just love that??

This entire school year I have been preoccupied by what PEOPLE think. I try to tell myself I don’t care what people think, but I do.. Their words or looks or comments or posts or actions do affect me on a very deep level, and as many times as I try to say I don’t care, I DO. I am trying to learn how to not allow those things to determine my self-worth, but that’s hard work, my friends!

I tend to remember those things that hurt me, and unfortunately, our humanness makes it so hard to forget words and looks and posts. I am learning to let those things move me and allow God to use that movement to change me into something beautiful instead of bitter. I have always wished people could see hearts. The communication of the heart is so much truer and purer than words or even actions. I know mine is. My words and or actions definitely don’t always match the fullness of my heart.

So, if you are reading this, I am asking for a favor…PRAY for me. Pray for my heart to be shown. Pray for my faith to be constantly renewed as it was while writing this. Pray for my obedience to God’s call on my life.  Pray that the love I have for my children never overshadow my walk with Christ!

Today’s writing was for me, but I believe it was easy to see God literally work through me from the start to the finish of this post. It is days like today that proves God’s presence is REAL! Hope you felt it too while reading. Before it is all over He may just make me a people person again ;) 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Good Question, Coach!

A coach/parent/friend of mine posed a question on Facebook a couple of days ago. He asked WHY a parent is so quick to approach a coach about the amount of playing time their child is or is not getting, but that same parent will not approach a teacher or the school to question why their child is failing their academic classes. Immediate responses call into question parents and the parents’ pride or need for their child to have perceivable value. Some parents are looking for their child to be the next “great” thing to come out of their town. While I agree wholeheartedly with these thoughts, I believe the reasoning may run deeper. Why do parents have those prideful needs? I believe it is a cultural problem. Our priorities in this country have become exceptionally skewed because we place too much emphasis on superstardom. We celebrate the stars not the TEAM!!

For instance just last night when the Green Bay Packers beat the Cowboys, the commentators said, “Aaron Rodgers moves on.”  Last time I checked Aaron Rodgers is not the Green Bay Packers. He is only one player out of 11 on the field. Nothing against Aaron Rodgers, but it is the idea that our society places too much grandeur on individual players and bypasses the greatness of TEAM. My husband and I are constantly telling our boys that no one person wins or loses a game. That every player has a purpose even if that player doesn’t see the field or court during a game.

I LOVE sports, but I believe it is the team part of sports that teaches our children the greatest lessons. I LOVE winning, but I believe it is just as important to learn to lose with class and dignity by leaving it all on the court/field. I LOVE to be a starter, but I believe having to bust your ass in order make the starting five or 11 or nine teaches how hard work and diligence elevates you as a person. I LOVE to talk shit, but I believe the best talk is shown through your impeccable skills. I LOVE teamwork, and I believe it is imperative to teach our children that one of their greatest roles on a team is to build up the players around and under them. As a team member we should NEVER tear down a teammate if they make a mistake. Players need to understand that individual stats don’t matter!! If your TEAM loses, you lose.

Unfortunately, the problem of stardom and winning is not one that sits solely with players and parents. I have seen coaches, throughout my years, who rewarded kids based on speed and size rather than on attitude and commitment. I am not stupid and completely understand the importance of speed and size in sports, but when we reward kids based solely on their athletic ability and not on their work ethic, we, as coaches, are part of the problem. I can bet you that if a kid lacks work ethic on the court/field, he or she lacks work ethic in the classroom as well. If a kid has a bad attitude or lacks respect toward a coaching staff, that same kid will be a discipline problem on the field/court and give teachers problems in the classroom and more than likely will not be a productive member of society in the long run. 

I try my hardest to instill within my own children (not always successful mind you) that those athletes, who work hard at school work, learn how to critically think, and make good grades, are the best athletes. I tell my kids that at some point your size and speed will be a moot point if you don’t understand how to run a play or how to read the defense in order to know which play to run. Great players are SMART players!!

Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” I urge you all to challenge the young people under your influence to seek out knowledge. Help them see the importance of words and people. Words make up sentences which create paragraphs that give us books of wisdom. Wisdom which grows our minds into organs of understanding giving us the ability to think, create, and love. Help these young people understand that the people who surround us provide us with the foundation to mold ourselves into a generous community. A community capable of unlimited success. We need each other to be great. No one achieves greatness alone.

My goal as a mother, teacher, and coach is to always help children see they have what it takes to be successful, but they first need to understand success is not defined by wins or loses. Success is determined by how you conducted yourself during the game. How will you play the game of life?

Here's how I want to play: Love God. Love Others. Live Enthusiastically. Work Hard. Have Fun.