Friday, January 6, 2012

playing a bigger game...

I love the game of football. I owe that to my dad. My dad is a man of very few words. Growing up I never heard him say much. But, when he was watching football he had a voice. A loud one. I saw passion and heart in my father during football games. Thus, grew my love for football.

When I was around 5 or 6 years old, my dad would wake me up early on a crisp fall Saturday morning, dress me in an orange and white cheerleaders outfit, load me into the car that had been appropriately decorated with tiger paw magnets and orange and white flags that hung in the windows, the night before. It would still be dark outside, we would grab a quick breakfast and travel Interstate 85 into Tiger Town. I always knew that we were getting close when I saw the huge tiger paws painted on the roads. I thought that was the coolest thing. Evidently, so did my grandparents, because, I also remember that they got in trouble one year for painting huge tiger paws down their neighborhood street. I guess its okay to have orange paws on the roads in tiger town, but not on a tree lined street in Lyman. Never-the-less, taking a trip to Clemson SC in the fall, climbing the stadium stairs that gives you a beautiful view of the mountains and Tilman Hall, chanting C-L-E-M-S-O-N with a fist roll and pause before the N, swimming in a sea of orange and white always gives me a sense of nostalgia.

So, Clemson had a great season this year, walking away with 10 wins, an ACC championship, and a trip to the Orange Bowl this past week. Which, by the way, was a major FAIL!!! What I liked best about Clemson football 2011/12 was watching their head coach Dabo Swinney. What a young, vibrant, passionate coach, who is investing in his players and teaching them more than how to play football. I've noticed that Coach Swinney is playing a bigger game. He never lets an opportunity go by that he does not testify to the goodness of God. He shows that he is a man of God's Word and voices it often. He believes in the game he's playing, and it runs deeper than pass plays and total yardage.

Now, here is the lesson I got from the brutal, devastating loss at the Orange Bowl. 70-33 was the final score, and it was NOT in Clemson's favor. They didn't just loose, they were stomped, embarrassingly. They were bowled over. hammered. kicked in the face. left for dead.

In a press conference after the game a question was asked of Coach Swinney. "Coach, what do you say to your players in the locker room after a game like that?" Coach Swinney's response was something like, you know, it is what it is, it was devastating. You know, the typical. But, this is the statement that rung out to me. He said, "I told them that I love them." and I thought when I heard that, "you know that's a lot like God."

Sometimes, I play with ALL heart and passion. I grab the ball and I run with it. I listen and do exactly what I'm suppose to. I'm efficient and effective at making the score. I live with total victory. And, God tells me that He loves me.

But often, I get sacked back behind the line. I drop the ball. I turn things over to the wrong people. I run the wrong way. I can't seem to stop the worry, fear, lies, and temptations that are rushing at me. I fall far too short of the end zone. And I don't make the goal. Sometimes, I don't just fail, but I fail miserably. Just like Clemson in the Orange Bowl I get stomped embarrassingly. And, God tells me that He loves me. Do you know what is really interesting? It's during my worst failures that I hear His "I LOVE YOU" more clearly. more distinct. louder. It's what causes me to stand back up. get back in the game. play harder. stronger. better.

In the fall I will climb the steps of death valley again. I will gaze out over the mountains, and turn my head towards that hill, I will cheer loudly (just like my dad), and watch Dabo and his tigers play a bigger game than just football. I will remember that when someone asks God, "What do you tell her after a failure like that?" He will always say, "I tell her that I Love Her."

have you ever felt like you failed at something? Did you hear God say, "I Love You" If you did how did it change you?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

hello monday...

Hello first week of 2012.. I'm expecting BIG things from you.

hello happy fire... you will be cozy and warm this week.

hello colder temperatures... you bring the feeling of winter, but you don't have to stay long.

hello morning routines, afternoon homework, and bedtime schedules.

hello 2012 weekly planner.. you will be one of my best friends.

hello planning work weeks, road trips, healthier habits, and family vacations.

hello 21 day fast.

hello clean house.. that feels a bit empty with Christmas packed away for another year.

hello Andrew enjoying your milkshake.

hello learning new things.

hello creativity.

hello Josephine Ann, I'm coming to see you Friday and I can't wait to hold you.

hello new year.

hello new life!

what are you saying hello to this first Monday of 2012?


Sunday, December 18, 2011

hello monday...

hello Christmas week...

hello regular work hours... I need a good nights sleep.

hello kitchy santa clause on my bed...
hello huge blessings in unexpected places.

hello completing 2011 and dreaming of what a new year has in store.

hello cousins... it was so much fun playing with you.
 hello looking for something new to learn today.

hello Christmas week... you are full of wonder and anticipation.

What are you saying hello to this Christmas week Monday?


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

sense the season... 2

Two Decembers ago I explored the idea of how we use our senses during Christmas. I thought hard about how our senses effect our experiences. And, during this season all of our senses seem to be heighten.

So tell me, what sense does Christmas effect the most for you?

Is it the smells of the season?

wood crackling and burning in the fireplace.
the scent of pine, douglas, and fur when you step on a tree lot.
oranges and cinnamon.
warm cookies coming out of the oven.

Is it the sounds of the season?

bells ringing outside of shopping centers.
the words "Merry Christmas" being exchanged among strangers.
a marching bands rendition of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." in a small town parade.
a child's squeal and delight in the wonder of it all.
familiar Christmas carols coming through your radio.

Is it the sights of the season?

the glow in a child's eyes when they gaze into the lights on a tree.
a creatively decorated gingerbread house.
frosted rooftops early in the morning.
the dancing flame of a scented candle.
stockings hung by the chimney with care

Is it the feel of the season?

a stack of warm wishes and season greetings you just retrieved from your mailbox.
the closeness of family around the dinner table.
crisp, cold air that hits your face when you open the door in the morning.
warm pjs snuggled close to you while watching a Christmas classic.
smooth wrapping paper that fits tight around a package of carefully picked treasure.

Is it the taste of the season?

homemade pumpkin pie.
warm cocoa smothered in marshmallows.
honey baked ham.
buckeyes (that you steal from your spouse)

personally, I love to gaze upon and behold the sights. Take pictures in my mind of scenes that will be long remembered. Images that will be told about again and again. Images of my daughter hugging her new doll that was left under the tree, of the church glowing with candle light at midnight on Christmas eve, tables carefully set with goodies made from love, thousands of tiny lights filling the streets of a little town.

Images of angels filling the night sky, proclaiming the good news.
Images of a baby wrapped in strips of cloth lying in a manager.
Images of lowly shepherds being invited to take part in the greatest miracle of mankind.
Images of a shining star that leads us and guides us to the savior.

How does Christmas effect your senses?
Do you see what I see?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

a thought...


Monday, December 12, 2011

hello monday...

hello being married to my very best friend for 13 years today.

hello recalling the journey of our marriage today, like we do every Dec 12

hello thanking God for what He has brought us through, and where He is taking us.

 hello wrapped packages under the tree... it's a start

hello christmas shopping this week... nothing like the last minute.

hello stockings to be filled, cards to be mailed, and cookies to be baked.

hello chilly weather... and warm coats with gloves and toboggans.

hello monday... i am happy to see you!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

christmas spectacular...

Christmas Spectacular
take one:

 We piled up in my best friends mini van Friday night and headed to this house, not far away, of Christmas spectacular. It was Christmas craziness. A simple residential house, that breaks out their 1600+ lights, and countless blow ups every year for the community to come and enjoy. The experience came complete with Santa Clause and free hand outs of pop corn. And lets not forget the magical glow in kids eyes and the sounds of excited squeals and statements like, "I'm in love with this place." It was truly something to behold. Cars lined the streets of the neighborhood and people bundled in toboggans and mittens journeyed through the maze of lights and Christmas scenes. I couldn't imagine being their neighbor come Thanksgiving every year.

Missy and Gracie entered the wonderland...
check out the pool in the back yard, complete with an ark blow up...
Seriously, this was amazing...
Before our Christmas light adventure, Missy and Gracie came over for a little season celebration, and we decided that this would be a new tradition for all of us. Every year our families will get together for a meal, gifts, a Christmas devotion, and an adventure to see the lights. We discussed how Jesus was the light of the world, and what we could do to shine His light in the world during this season. I cooked a meal and we piled around our little kitchen table, shared stories and jokes. JUST THE WAY I LIKE IT. To me, family and friends scrunched around a table sharing a meal and love is what this season is all about.

I am learning the importance of tradition. They give us things to look forward to. They help us remember. And they write our stories. I'm thankful for old traditions this Christmas, and for beginning new ones.


Christmas Spectacular
take two:

And then there's the old traditions.
I left work Saturday afternoon and rushed to catch the Reidville Christmas parade. I had to park a little over a mile away, and almost ran through the crowds down the street in the my scrubs and danskos, turning my ankle more then once. The parade had already begun, but I had my camera in hand, ready to snap. I made my way through the crowd, zigzagging from grass to road, trying not to get pelted by the candy that was being slung through the air. I was smiling to myself, as I heard the words "Merry Christmas" repeated again and again. The Reidville Christmas parade has always been a tradition for me, but this year Andrew was marching with his cub scout pack in the parade and I didn't want to miss him. I finally made it to my spot with family, and took a deep breath, because I had not missed pack 29 and I could sit back and enjoy the amusement of the participates.

Here comes pack 29
And here's my little star...
The hillbilly cars were always my favorite...
And of course, No Christmas parade would be complete without the grand finale being the big man himself.

Take delight in your traditions this year. And while your at it, why don't you create some new ones.
Enjoy this season! Make is SPECTACULAR!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

a thought...

There was no room for Jesus in the world He created...

Source: Sheldon on Pinterest