READ AT END OF GAME: 7 Ways March Madness is REAL LIFE

Tonight is the BIG GAME!!
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Gonzaga v UNC

March. Madness.

March Madness 2017 has been….ummm…er…well…it’s M.A.D.N.E.S.S.

I love to watch basketball anyway, but bring on the GO BIG OR GO HOME competition and I can’t get enough. Last year, I had wisdom and insight and brilliance to share. And this year, I have even more.

Watching March Madness  always brings a reflection of the realties of life. Secretly that’s why so many people love it, even those who don’t normally watch basketball. March Madness is a distraction from what the world tries to sell us as what life “should” be like…when really, life is like this:

1. Like in this crazy college basketball tournament, SOMETIMES YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING TO WIN, BUT YOU LOSE. There is nothing I love to hear a sports commentator say more than the word “upset”. I will admit, I get choked up sometimes when the seniors on the bench start crying knowing it’s their last game.   But it’s like that in life, too. We go into things expecting to finish well, or to get that promotion, or to take our dreams to the next level, and then life outscores us, and we lose.

2. The opposite is true as well.  SOMETIMES WE LOSE, BUT THEN WE END UP WINNING. I love rooting for the underdog. It’s great to me when these teams come in and everyone expects them to be out first round, but then BOOM! And then that team, no one expects to win, makes it to round 2 and then 3. We know those moments, when it seems all the cards are stacked against us in life, but we find something inside to keep going, and we end up beating the situation, or getting that job and we even surprise ourselves!

3. One of the most amazing moments of Madness this year was FLORIDA v. WISCONSIN. The game was tied at the end of overtime. Florida inbounds the ball with just 2 seconds left. Wisconsin plans to let time run out so they can take the game into double overtime. But not Florida.  Florida just kept playing to win. And on the buzzer, Chris Chiozza shot the ball for a 3 and Florida advances, and Wisconsin goes home. In life, we have to be like Chiozza: WE CAN NEVER, EVER GIVE UP. No matter how grim the circumstances may be, or how the ending seems to look…we can NEVER EVER EVER GIVE UP.

4. Winning in life doesn’t just happen. In real life, we aren’t handed trophies. Participation medals give us no feelings of satisfaction or accomplishment. WE HAVE TO FIGHT TO WIN.

5. Over 5 million people watch each round of March Madness. That’s a lot of eyes on these players. Every move they make is under the scrutiny and opinion of commentators, other coaches, classmates, strangers and trolls. But, hey, no pressure.  In life, there are moments we feel EVERYONE IS WATCHING US. That no matter what we do, good or bad, we are being judged, graded, or criticized. That pressure can be overwhelming. Unlike these basketball games, often times we aren’t really being watched, but that doesn’t take way the fear that we are.

6. When Zac was 9 or so, I coached his basketball team. All it took was for me to coach one season to know that I was not cut out for that job. I struggled to put the right players in at the right time, and to keep myself from yelling at the refs, and even more so, to restrain myself from fighting with other coaches. I love watching the coaches during games as much as the players, because it’s a hard job.  But the players from all of these schools need direction and guidance.  They need someone yelling at refs for injustice, they need someone giving them a game plan. And just like them, in life, WE ALL NEED A COACH.  ( Jesus is a great one! If you haven’t signed up for his team yet, you should check into it.  If you have, and you haven’t let him actually coach you, you should probably stop trying to be the coach of your own life, because no one on your team is going to like you.)

7. Basketball is a team sport. Everyone has a job. When Zac plays, his job is to rebound and go right back up with the ball. He can’t do what the point guard does.  Zac is 6ft tall, the point guard on his team is probably 4’5.  (I witnessed him dribble through the legs of an opposing team member this past weekend, he is so short).  We all have a place, and we can’t play the team sport of life alone.  WE ALL NEED A TEAM to pass the ball to, to go in for us so we can rest, and to slap us on the butt when we’ve made a great play! Get you a team, and practice life with them, so when the big game comes, you know that you have each other’s backs and you are all working toward the same goal!

I busted my bracket the 1st Round.  But I keep watching…. and in life, I will lose. I will fight, I will ride the bench. I will want to give up, and then I’ll hear my coach yell, “Push YOURSELF!” And in the end, I will win. I will win because while I’m on the journey, facing game after game, I know I’m on the right team. And that makes all the difference.
GO UNC! Who are you rooting for? What do you love the most about MARCH MADNESS?
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Disenchanted: My Journey to Find Church

online dating

The best place to start is online. Google-ing and researching. Checking backgrounds and bios and music preferences. Before you even plan the date, you can find out with just a few clicks whether or not it’s even worth your time.

Some results prove to be misleading, with fancy words and fantastic photos. But then you show up and it’s a whole different scenario, nothing like you expected. All of those hours online can backfire on you. You build that day up in your head, with great expectations because of all you see on this website or that blog, only to be completely underwhelmed an hour later.

It’s all worth it. If you find “the one”. The one that connects with you and provides a sense of comfort and makes you feel loved. The one that makes you want to be a better person. After years of searching, I’m not sure there is just ONE, like that one soul mate that is meant just for you. Like in anything, don’t we have to sacrifice one for the other? Aren’t there just some non-negotiables and some things that you just let slide? I mean, if the music isn’t your rhythm, does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?

Sounds like a finding a boyfriend, husband, girlfriend, wife…

It kinda is.

Afterall, we are Jesus’ bride, aren’t we?

My two year search for a church was painful, and discouraging, and in the end, gave me a new perspective of the church as a whole. I spent many months resenting the Americanized definition of a place of worship. At times I even just refused to go. I have endured criticism and been accused of being “judgmental” (Christians love to use this word). Overall I have been heartbroken at what I have found the church to become.

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My journey, although painful and frustrating, has given me a new perspective of people and brokenness and more than ever our need for a Savior. I am still convinced that the church is the place that has the potential to save the world, I’m just not sure every pastor believes the same. Oh, they may say they believe it, but their churches, with the programs and the glitz and all the other stuff that gets in the way prove to be the absolute opposite of what I believe the church was designed to be.

I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong…but who knows I might actually be right.

Join me over the next few weeks as I share with you how searching for a church for my family and I has changed me, grown me and given me a new perspective of Jesus.

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God Just Keeps on Saving You…

I love the movie THE GUARDIAN with Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner. According to reviews it’s “COMPELLING and HEROIC!”  That’s something!  The film is about this young kid, Kutcher, who is an excellent swimmer with a tragic past who is training to be a rescue swimmer under the best rescue swimmer ever in the history of ever, Costner. Under Costner, Kutcher works hard on his physical skills, but more so his emotional problems.  They have a budding father/son thing going on, learning from each other and growing and all that crap.  Which is great and all but what I get hooked on in movies like this is all the physical stuff.

 

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I think I’m always in awe of what Rescue Swimmers, or Army Rangers or Seals or whoever, are willing to endure to train for a moment where they can die. So these Coast Guard rescue swimmers in the movie (and in real life, I’m sure) jump into crazy waters to rescue someone, anyone, from their nearing death. They fly out in helicopters and jump fro the sky in search for the lost….they risk their own lives, because someone else’s life matters.

It’s so Jesus.

He so rescues us.

Now that I have these amazing daughters who are in college, (3 of them) I often think of the times that God quite literally saved my life. I know of times I could have been jailed, or killed in accidents or murdered even because of my stupidity. And then there are the times that I don’t even realize that He rescued me and honestly, that I may never know…how He hovered over me and searched for me, and jumped in the waters for me.

And He continues to do so.

I don’t intentionally put myself in dangerous situations anymore. But even over the last few years I’ve seen how the things I prayed for, almost begged for, didn’t come to pass. And when it seemed He didn’t answer like I wanted Him to, I questioned Him. But He still kept saving.

Like in the movie, to the person being rescued, it may not make sense how the rescuer does his job. But the rescuer is going to save him anyway.

Now I can see how just recently even, He saved me from situations I would have been miserable in, or spiritually unsafe or miserable, did I mention miserable?

We often think of Jesus, the Savior, the Redeemer, who saves us from our sins and eternal hell. Yah I said it—Jesus saves us from hell! (you don’t hear that preached often). But daily, He is saving us. Always rescuing us from our stupid mistakes, our biggest failures, our thoughtless actions. He doesn’t just want  to save us from the eternal or physical, He wants to rescue us from our flesh,  so that He can gives us abundance. God is constantly rescuing us from our misguided desires, so that He ….

So that He can be glorified.

So that He can be known by us.

So that He ______( fill in the blank.)

I’m grateful for those jobs He never gave me, and removing me from that church and keeping unhealthy people out of my inner circle and changing my heart and showing me the issues of my own pride. I’m thankful for discernment and wisdom and the ability to lean on a God who is always in the business of rescuing me from myself. And people…that’s a lot of rescuing to be done.

How about you? What has he rescued you from? Comment, I want to hear your story!

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Why the New Coke Machines Will Be the Death of Us

I walk into a restaurant and see this:

coke machine

and I cringe. I hate this machine. As a coke (a cola) addict, the source and purity of my frosty beverage is of utmost importance. I absolutely HATE the taste of the drinks that come out of this machine. My kids claim there isn’t a difference. They try and convince me that the choices make it cool, they try and persuade me to “just try” the cherry vanilla flavor. It’s all a lie.

I’m assuming those who drank Cokes out of this machine understand my lament:

vintage coke machine

We can ALL agree that a Coke out of a bottle is golden, even royal. We can taste the difference, I can taste the difference.And I’m sending this out as a PSA to save yourselves from the destruction of the American Institution of convenience and the right to choices and do not conform or utter a word about how the new Coke machines “aren’t that bad.”  BLASPHEMY.

This is typical of our society and even our lives. We allow slow, seemingly insignificant changes to seep into our worlds. We shrug, we even taste the difference, but we convince ourselves that it isn’t horrible so it must be good. Sins, lies, behaviors, small interruptions that frustrate us but not enough to actually do anything about it.

Marriages, slowly fading, with lack of connection, sitting on opposite ends of the couch on Facebook.

Parents, writing off that their kid is just a teenager and all teenagers spend all their time in their bedrooms, refusing to step into their world because, well, their favorite episode is on.

Friendships, clouded by tinges of jealousy that obviously are justified because you are such a good person and do such good things, and it’s all just not fair.

Work, church, neighbors–we make allowances for tiny white lies, changes in ourselves and others, and then before you know it, Coke isn’t using real cane sugar anymore and no one notices. We are told, we are warned, we see the difference in packaging, but we choose to ignore.

I have learned that we do have a lot of choices, according to the new coke machine, 100+, yes PLUS. But having more options doesn’t mean that we are any more equipped to make the right choice, nor does it ensure that we will focus on the choices that matter.

The only assurance we have is rooted in a relationship with Christ. One that clearly spells out that we have a choice this day of life or death, blessing or curse. It doesn’t matter what we drink with our burger and fries, or which machine it comes out of. What matters are things of eternal value, and we are daily to examine our choices, to fill the cracks and choose life, found only in Him. Like choosing what to eat 3 times a day, it’s a moment by moment decision, and one that will last eternally longer than this trendy new Coke machine.

Where in your life have you allowed tiny things to seep in, things that seem like they aren’t a big deal, but eventually will numb you to the truth that you are swimming in sin ??? Comment and Share.

LG|LP

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P.S. Head over and LIKE my FB page, there are pics of pizza, rantings about things that are just crazy and maybe a bit of encouragement.

No Mercy, Kids! No. Mercy.

Zac’s been home sick a few days. I was so over hearing “I’m bored!” “There’s nothing to do!” “I don’t want to be sick anymore!”

I decided to be a great mom, like a super great mom. We turned on some National Geographic Show about polar bears brutally eating innocent little baby seal, ate pizza and played cards. When playing games with my kids, my rule is: No Mercy. (Well okay, maybe a little.) But the one thing I will NOT do is let my kids win.

Sounds mean, doesn’t it?

We were playing Skip Bo and Zac only had one card left in his pile, I had four. He was so arrogant, just knowing he was going to win. But then mom AND

Boom

 

But the thing is, Zac doesn’t lose well:

skip bo

 

He was so mad, he threw the cards everywhere and stomped his way upstairs.  I sat and patiently waited for him to come back down and pick them all up. It took a good 20 minutes or so before he worked through his tragic loss and picked up the cards.   I thanked him and we moved on.

I just don’t “get” the everyone deserves a trophy, where we don’t take score, and all kids are winners. Life doesn’t work that way. Life is way harsh and mean. Losing well is a necessity in life. We spend way more time on this earth losing, than winning. If our kids can lose well, even at a game, then they will be more prepared to deal with the real losses, the ones that actually matter.

What do you think? Do you let your kid win at games? Comment below.

Let’s Chat!!

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