Miles of Blessings

Miles of Blessings

When my alarm sounded that May morning, I strongly considered rolling over and going back to sleep. A quick check of the weather app on my phone confirmed that I, along with a few thousand other participants, would be competing in our respective races in the rain coupled with a brisk temperature that I usually avoid running in. However, I pep-talked myself out of my comfortable bed and made the hour-long drive to the event location, motivated by the rewards of checking off another running goal, the dryness, warmth, and variety of sugary treats found at the indoor finish line, and sipping a steaming cup of coffee on the drive home. 

When the 10k race began, I settled into my pace and eagerly anticipated the aforementioned rewards. Usually, the finish line is where my focus remains fixated, but on this particular day, God opened my eyes to blessings along the route.

The first blessing was being able to spend time in prayer as I ran. I prayed for endurance, thanked God for recent answers to prayer only He could orchestrate, lifted requests to Him, and listened for His voice. The second blessing was perseverance. He provided strength and stamina for each step through less-than-ideal conditions. The third blessing was the people God placed in my path. I appreciated the supportive fans who cheered for us, particularly the children who enthusiastically offered high-fives as participants passed.

If I had concentrated only on the finish, I would have missed miles of blessings along the way. The truth is, whether we are running a 10k or experiencing a challenging waiting season in life, we will fail to appreciate God-sent gifts along the journey if we aim all of our attention at attainment.

The blessings God provided while I ran can be found in life’s waiting seasons as well. Just as the 10k was a perfect time to enjoy the blessing of prayer, waiting seasons are also a perfect time to spend meaningful time in prayer, drawing us closer to God. Similar to how He blessed me with the gift of perseverance as I ran, He will also develop perseverance in us when we are sustaining a waiting season. Perseverance proves to us that His strength is all we need in the present and gives us confidence that it is all we need for our future. And the 10k blessing of appreciating the people God placed in my path can likewise be experienced during waiting seasons when we intentionally take our eyes off ourselves. Consequently, our relationships are enhanced, and we have more opportunities to display the love of Jesus to a world in desperate need of more of it.

While we wait for the blessing, let’s not miss the blessing in the wait. Next time we are in the midst of a waiting season, may we not become so focused on the finish that we miss out on the miles of blessings God lovingly provides along our route. 

Review of Coaches’ Wives Documentary

As I watched the Coaches’ Wives documentary, I experienced numerous “Yes, me too!” and “She gets it!” moments. I am the wife of a high school basketball coach, and if I had the opportunity to strike up a conversation with any of the ladies featured in this film, we would definitely not run out of subjects to discuss! Topics such as balancing our family’s involvement and schedules, where to strategically sit in the bleachers as fans openly discuss coaching decisions, and being thankful for the passion with which our husband does his job would give us hours of dialogue and many points of solidarity. As one of the ladies says, “It’s such a blessing to be married to somebody who loves their job!”
I appreciated the fact that wives of both collegiate and high school coaches were included in this documentary. The women interviewed have great understanding of the blessings associated with being married to a coach, and they also express what the difficult parts can be. They help the viewer realize that although they may be in a somewhat unique situation, they are not alone!
If you are married to a coach of any sport at any level, I highly recommend watching this documentary. You will undoubtedly gain insight into the challenges of being a coach’s wife, and you’ll also gain new appreciation for how genuinely rewarding it is!

https://www.amazon.com/Coaches-Wives-Meo-Stansbury/dp/B01N9LUZ24/ref=sr_1_1?s=instant-video&ie=UTF8&qid=1483554259&sr=1-1&keywords=coaches+wives

If you are on a team, be a team player!

If you are on a team, be a team player!

Many high school kids will be starting a new season of practice this week. Whether it is football, volleyball, cross country or another fall sport, this is a good time to remember that being a team player is a decision.

Being a team player means you don’t seek individual glory. Yes, you work your butt off so that you are the best player you can possibly be, but it isn’t because you want your name talked about…it’s because you want to contribute to the consistent improvement of your team. And yes, sometimes your name might come up in a newspaper article for example, and if it does, kudos to you…but your pride should stem from the part you play in your team’s success, and not seeing your name in print.

Being a team player means you work just as hard if you are a star player, role player, or if you spend most of your time on the bench. It means you realize that you can set an example with your work ethic, and there is a possibility of the entire climate of practice changing for the better because of the first-rate effort of one player. And if it doesn’t change, you don’t let that stop you, because working hard no matter the result is a quality that will serve you well during the season and into your post-high-school future.

Being a team player means following training rules. Showing disrespect to rules that are put in place for well-thought-out reasons (even if you disagree with them) is showing disrespect to your team.

Being a team player means showing respect to authority figures. Whether it is the coaches of your sport, the teachers in school, the officials of your games…your attitude toward them rubs off on your teammates. It helps build your reputation as a respectful team. If you hear bad-mouthing of coaches and team members from others, respectfully avoid that conversation and choose to make positive remarks regarding the team and coaches who you are spending time with, making goals with and making memories with. Engaging in negative discourse has no positive benefits!

Being a team player means you talk to your teammates with respect. It also means you talk about them with respect. It means you think before you speak and decide if what you are about to say is beneficial to the dynamics of the team or if it might be detrimental. Yes, you are capable of getting along with even the hardest-to-get-along-with people! Often it will require a little extra prayer, patience, and perseverance, but it is worth pursuing! Being a teammate that helps obtain and preserve a cohesive quality on a team means more than you realize. And it is a trait that will matter for years to come.

Being a team player means remembering that it is not about you.

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Why Do I Go To The Game?

Why Do I Go To The Game?

Why do I go to my child’s games?

May I ask you: Have you asked yourself lately what your intention is when you sit in the stands at your child’s events?

A while back, I was seated behind a parent of an opposing team member at one of my son’s basketball games. What I saw caused me to reevaluate my genuine answer to the above question. She was a lively spectator. She clapped, she cheered, she shook her head at some bad plays, and every few minutes, she wrote something down on the roster she was holding. The clapping, cheering, and even the shaking of the head seemed pretty typical of any average fan in the stands. I have done all three, and I think I can safely assume you have too. However, my curiosity about activity number four; using her pen to mark that paper, got the best of me. The white piece of paper that was repeatedly picked up and slammed down in disgust was close enough to me to sneak a peek if I had wanted to. I confess I wanted to. So I did. In large black letters there was a heading that said, “Bad passes.”

This woman was keeping track of bad passes like it was her job.

From my observations, I am guessing (and it IS a guess) she was recording the bad decisions of her son’s teammates.

I could be wrong, and maybe she was counting the “bad passes” of her own son and was going to talk it over with him after the game. If that’s the case, that is a topic for a different blog post with a possible title of, “Please do not count how many mistakes your child makes in their games in order to point them out later.” Too long of a title? Okay, it could be shortened to something like, “Sorta Lousy Parenting Practices”

So let’s suppose she was adding up the mistakes of her son’s teammates to prove some sort of point.

My next question is this: Do I ever do that? And if someone asked you if you do…I wouldn’t expect anyone to raise their hand and confess that they carry a piece of paper and writing utensil to every game for the sole purpose of counting the transgressions of their child’s team members. (If you do, kindly tell us where you are sitting at the next game, so that we can sit nowhere near you and your negativity.) But how many times have I done it mentally? “So-and-so has turned the ball over three times in a row, and my son has a pretty impressive assist-to-turnover ratio…” Or “Practically every time that girl serves, it goes straight into the net, do the coaches not see that?” Reminder: we are complaining about someone who is wearing the same team uniform as our child. They are on the SAME TEAM.

Hoping and cheering for the success of my child’s teammates makes the most sense…every positive play they make is contributing to the success of the entire team.

If we tell our role-player child they should start instead of one of their teammates, our child may actually be hearing, “I’m not good enough in my parents’ eyes unless I start.” Have we forgotten how crucial role players are to a team’s success? What about our child who spends their time on the bench? If we continually complain about their teammates who “shouldn’t be playing in front of them,” 1. We might cause them to lose their enthusiasm for working their way into the playing rotation, because, “What’s the use? My parents are only going to care if I’m a starter…” and 2. We lose an opportunity to teach an important life lesson to our children: EVERY team member is valuable. If instead of being a star player, our child is a role player or a player that spends most of their time on the bench, it doesn’t diminish their worth to the team, right? A team is successful because of a combination of factors including their attitude, their unity, and their preparation in practice. The second and third-string players make the first-string players better through their efforts at every single practice! The players who are on the bench cheering on their teammates on the playing field are imperative to the team’s energy and perseverance. If we instill in our children the truth that EVERY player contributes, it will serve them well for the rest of their life!

If I habitually see the shortcomings of our kid’s teammates, it will make it easier for my kid to see them too. If I point out weaknesses, the people around me are exposed to negativity whether they want to be or not. If I am not a unifying presence in the bleachers, I am a divisive presence. No team needs that!

Will you join me in making a parent pact? It is a pact to support every team member; to be a loyal fan of every single member of team.

Maybe our positivity will rub off on others. It all starts with asking ourselves a question and answering in a genuine way: Why do I go to my child’s games?