Baseball Blessings

ballBeing the end of February, I have to say that I cannot wait for baseball season to start! Our family loves baseball! It’s in every one of us! Both sides of my children’s Family Trees, are lovers of the sport in some sense or another, and it’s become a huge part of our lives. Even in the winter months, we are still talking ball. It’s who we are!

My husband went to many National Championships and Canada Games for the sport and was coached by his father…also known in this house as “Poppa Key-Key”. He’s an incredible 75 year old, who when you meet him, he seems only to be about 50 because he’s so spunky, full-of-life and comical! I met him for the first time 18 years ago, and he hasn’t aged a year since I first met him.

Now, Poppa is coaching my son, with his son. How amazing is that? In the heat of the summer, he is at the baseball field up to 4 days a week. Braving the heat and elements to donate his 70 plus years of knowledge of this sport to the kids that are six decades younger than him. And the boys LOVE him! How could they not? He’s entertaining, a ball of fun, and knows more about baseball, then the entire group of 12 fourteen year olds. I’m sure my husband is learning loads from him too, even though he might not admit to it!

To me, it touches my heart to the core and there is nothing better than watching my son at home plate, his grandfather waiting for him at first base to coach him around the bases, and his father on third to coach him home! It is the most wonderful site to see.
I realize, a big part of me, loving this picture is because I adore each one of these men to the end of the earth. But think about it! Where else do we have a Father and Son cheering us on? Coaching us from base to base, making sure we get home safe. Trying to score a run for our team.

That is what we need to get through this world successfully! We are at the bat having many hard balls thrown directly at us! Sometimes we may strike out, sometimes we may hit our home-run. Some days we only get a base hit, but waiting for us there, is our loved ones, and watching over us is our Great Father, Son and Holy Spirit, edging us on. Trying to guide us, if we’d just listen.

We might be able to steal second base, if we have the confidence in our great leaders who are our eyes for us, while we are looking straight at our goal. Be obedient to their lead…trust that they know what they are doing. Keep our faith in their knowledge of the sport and their strength. It’s a hard thing to do, because sometime we have our own ergs to make choices and decisions on our own.

If sometimes, my son doesn’t listen to his coaches’ directions, they are both there to lovingly pick him up and dust the dirt off him and they are very forgiving to him for not trusting them. Of course they hope that he learned his lesson from trusting his own instincts, and not listening to them.  They hope that he will trust them to guide him the next time he gets on base, but in the end it’s his choice.

We all have to learn to trust in our Heavenly Coach, waiting for us to make it to our next base in life. Trying to get home without getting called out by the umpire is difficult, and without his help, it is risky. We might make it alone, but why take the chance? If we listen to our Heavenly Father on third base, standing strong, waiting for us to round third, we will easily get the arm rolling motion to hurry to home plate! Hustle to our destiny! Slide in to our home plate! Score the winning run!

It is told to us in Exodus 15:2, “The LORD is my strength and my defense ; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” We all need strong defense to win any game…whether it is a game of baseball, or the game of life.

What are you waiting for? Grab that bat of life, step up to home plate, look at your two base coaches, and realize with them on your team you have the game in the bag!  Just listen to their direction, use them for your defense and wait for the big arm wave from your third base coach, guiding you safely home to victory! It’s a feeling that you will never forget!

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Childish Choices

ChildrenI’m a grade 5 teacher, and I have to say, ten year olds are simply amazing. They are at such an impressionable age, and they soak everything in. Well…most of them.

As my years pass by in my teaching career and I become more of a veteran at this gig, it is really shocking how many children struggle with social and emotional development. I don’t really know why…I guess it needs to be taught at home, but in my city this is a huge area of need. Instead of spending my day teaching the curriculum, like I should be, I am constantly interrupted by “life” issues that I have to address with my students.

I have many programs in place in my classroom, like ask-three-people-before-me, trying to get them to use the social cue of; look around you, what are others doing and what should I be doing? Or, even to think to themselves: if I was listening, I would know…man, I’ve had to ask for help seven times today, maybe I need to pay more attention.

My attempt is to have them ready for a successful life in middle school by the end of their year in my class, and most years the subject areas suffer because I am dealing with many other aspects of life in my classroom.

As I reflect on my own life, now that I am in my forties, I am really no different than these ten year old students, trying to make it in the world. Do you know how many times I’ve made the wrong choices? How many times I didn’t do what I knew I should have done? We all have choices in this world…but why is it so hard to make the right choice?

One simple word. Ego. We let our flesh take control. Our selfish nature. Our need to be all about ourselves. As I start on my spiritual path…after much of my life gone wrong…I wonder, where would I be if I made the right choices? The choices that I try to teach to my ten year old students. The choices that I am trying to instill in my own children. Would my life have been any better?

I look back at many situations, and, even though I regret many of my choices, the fact remains, I made them and I have to live with them. There is no sense living in the past and wondering “what if?” Instead I have to focus on my future. I have to stop letting evil make me glance in the rear view mirror. What’s done is done. The only thing I can change is myself now…and my future.

Presently, I am in that transition from living in the flesh to living in the spirit, and I have to say, the latter is much more rewarding. If you are anything like me…and my 10 year old students…it takes a while to get to this place. It takes the school of hard knocks to finally make you understand that we are what we choose to be, and we should only be ourselves. Nobody else…just ourselves.

Sounds easy enough, right? Maybe for some, but not me. It took me about 25 years, to make my 360 degree turn back to where I dreamed I would be when I was in high school. Don’t get me wrong! I love my life. I have an amazing husband, two incredible children, a gorgeous home, a great job…my list of blessings is endless, but…there are many life choices that I would change.

Instead of dwelling on all your mistakes of your past, focus on your future, and living in God’s word.  Learn to find the blessing in your blunders! I love the end of the chapter in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults and giving instruction for right living, so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed.”

Are you ready to find blessings in your blunders? Are you prepared to turn to the scripture for your life answers and not our society’s views of how we should be living? Why turn to the internet for answers, when we have the Bible right at our fingertips? To me, the answer is simple…what is your choice going to be?

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Snow Day Priorities

snowMost Canadians love a great snow day…especially the students and teachers and luckily I’m a teacher. When we get about 30 centimeters of snow, the entire city will shut-down and we get a nice quiet day at home with our family. It is priceless!

I love them because I get to get caught up on my time in my home. Being held captive in your own home is a good thing now and then. You get caught up on your laundry, get to play some board games with your children and cook a nice meal that isn’t rushed. Some days I even grab a nap! There is nothing like a good afternoon snuggle with the kids and a nap. It’s just icing on the cake.

As I age, and learn through my mistakes, I’m learning that sometimes we get our priorities out of order. It wasn’t until my quest to become a better wife that I learned that the husband should be a wife’s number one priority. Man, did I ever have my priorities all wrong. My list of priorities went more like this: my children, my work, my gymnasts that I coach, running the home properly, my friends, and then when I could find time, I would squeeze a little time for my husband.

Instead of giving him my best, I was giving him what was left of my life after all my other commitments. Thank goodness I finally came to the conclusion that things had to change. I’m very fortunate that this became my New Year’s Resolution, because I started to do my research and found out that I had it all wrong. I was so busy making sure that my children were going to be successful, I forgot that without having their father in their world, their lives would come crashing down.

Before snow days were all about catching up on things I needed to do, but this year, things changed. Our last snow day, I got up earlier than the rest of the house and spent my time with God, but after that it was back to cuddle with my husband this time, and not the kids. Then it was make my husband’s favorite breakfast, instead of my picky-eater of a son I have. If he didn’t like what I was making he is old enough now to make his own toast.
Then my husband and I watch 3 episodes of our favorite Netflix original program and cuddled on the couch watching the snow accumulate. This time, the kids played board games together while I was spending some catch-up time with their father. Did it hurt the children any? Absolutely not. Instead they were learning what a healthy marriage should look like.

Finally, I made dinner…my call this time…and as the snow slowed down my husband ventured out to our local restaurant to try and get it open for the public. Now, that my husband was gone to work, I had lots of time to spend some alone time with the children. My housework might not have been finished, my laundry might not have been caught up, but I was prioritizing this extra spare time that the snow day left me, and since my children are third on my list of priorities, I owed it to them to spend quality time with them.

You can judge me if you wish, but the way I had my priorities previously wasn’t working. Proverbs 12:4 is a verse that I became to love, “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.” Not only was I decay to my husband’s bones, I was also decaying my entire family unit.

If you were to list your priorities, would they have looked more like my first list, or would it be in line with my second list? We all have to prioritize, and this is difficult. Please believe me that when we prioritize our husbands before our children it is a win-win situation. It is the way that God created it. We can frown on it, and go with the way society of today feels it should be…which I was very guilty of…or we can follow the instructions in the Bible.

I’ve had it both ways, and trust me, the way that the good Lord made it initial is definitely the most rewarding for you, your husband and your children. Make the change today, and enjoy your extra time with the people that need your attention the most, and watch the instant change. My husband still rubs it in to the children that he is number one, but the kids completely understand and love it too!

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Running “Reality”

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I love the outdoors!  If I add running to the equation, I am in my happy place. Winter or summer, I love to run outside. A treadmill is Chinese Torture to me. I feel it defeats the entire purpose of running. To me running is to get fresh air, enjoy the smells of the great outdoors and get a good bout of stress relief with every pounding step. It’s invigorating.

It is difficult sometimes running in the winter, especially whenever there is just a light dusting of snow. You can’t see where the road is dry or where there might be some underlying ice.

One day I was out for a run and there was a beautiful shower of light snowflakes. I was loving the temperature and the fresh crisp air. The more that I ran, the more the snow slowly accumulated and near the end of my run I was slipping and sliding on the ice below me. I must have looked like one of those cartoon characters that just slipped on the banana peel, my arms frantically flailing in attempts to regain my balance. I was a gymnast for ten years, so balance is embedded in my memory and it is rare that I ever feel like I am going to fall. I’m kind of like a cat that way.

At one point however, it did run through my mind. “I am going to fall!” I heard a little voice saying in my head. Instantly, I turned my thought around. “I am going to stand firmly on my own two feet!” I corrected myself from those horrible negative thoughts that popped up in my head unwilling to me.

Even though I have tons of confidence when it comes to balance, my confidence was shaken for a moment in time during this one run. I lived on a four inch beam for a fourth of my life doing skills that require no hands and landing back on my feet again, how could a little snow-covered ice make me feel insecure?

That is what humans do…they let insecure feelings take over their minds and let doubt ruin their good intentions. Instead of blasting out negativity, we let it fester and grow. I even caught myself doubting my own balance. I kind of wonder what would have happened if I let the thought that I was going to fall dominate my mind. Would I have fallen on the hidden ice that day? Would I have hurt myself? I guess I will never know if I would have fallen, because I am training my brain to kick negative thoughts out of my mind as quickly as they come in and replace them with repeating to myself the opposite, positive thoughts at least three times.

I am sure the guy that I met walking his dog who over heard me chanting to myself, “I am staying on my feet…I am staying on my feet…I am staying on my feet…” thought I was crazy, but honestly, I didn’t care. I was focusing on what I wanted, and at that time, I wanted to stay on my feet! I was going to reach my running destination without falling and hurting myself on the ice covered road.

There are many people who think positive thinking is crazy. My husband being one of them. Each time I point out his negativity he defends himself as not being negative, rather he prefers to call it “reality”. My reality is that you have to first dream of it to make it a reality. Many things that now exist was once just a figment of a person’s imagination…their positive thinking. Was it reality at the time? Absolutely not. Then what they thought of was brought to life and is now a reality. What you want to exist for yourself must be first imagined, or thought of. You have to start somewhere.

Being a huge believer in the power of God and his word, I know that if I stay positive he will work things in my favor, because he ensures us, in Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” He tells us himself, that we can all do far more than what we can ever ask for, or even think of if we have the power of God in us. Why then do we ever doubt ourselves?

Jump off that Doubt Train today, and chase after all those big dreams that you have. The only thing holding you from reaching your goals is the thoughts in your head…the “reality” that some people might see.  Don’t let anyone sway your from your goal.  Knock any negativity out of your head!

Sure there might be ice under your feet throwing you off balance from time to time…and there may be that onlooker thinking you are crazy, but who cares! Maybe even loved ones that would prefer to stay in “reality” and not feel the power of the believer, but that is their loss. I’m a believer and I know I will fill my destiny, one step at a time, reminding myself, “I will stay firmly on my own two feet!”…I’m a step closer every day to my dream that I want to be a reality. What is your dream…how are you going to reach your destination? Are you a believer or a “realist”?

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Stop to Smell the Roses

I was so fortunate to receive roses this Valentine’s Day! I love roses, and was very gracious to have these beautiful, red, soft scented flowers adorning my kitchen for the occasion. Their aroma filled my kitchen for many days. I did everything that I was supposed to do with these flowers. I followed the instructions […]

Online Shopping

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I’m addicted to online shopping! It is so much fun! You get to sit in the comfort of your own home, maybe watching a program with your family, or snuggling with your kids on the couch.  You can even shop and chat with your husband on a funfilled Friday night! It is every multi-tasker’s dream come true!
Not only can you do something productive and shop all at the same time, you can also price shop easily and efficiently. It’s easy to check different stores, trying to find the best price quickly and painlessly. Who can top eBay and items that are sold from Korea or Hong Kong? You cut out the middle man and you can save lots of money, plus, you can do it all from your own cozy abode.
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy going on the occasional outing to a local department store, but online just offers many other benefits to a busy woman in today’s high-paced world. We have the world, and every store at our finger tips!  Why not take advantage?
My favorite part has to be when I get home from work and there it is…that brown box, patiently waiting for me to tear into its core,  to reveal what is waiting inside. It’s like getting two times the bang for your buck!  You get to order it…get excited about its arrival and then you get to open it…It’s just like Christmas morning when it arrives.

Sometimes you might even forget that you ordered something and it arrives months later in your mailbox, and you finally remember that you ordered it. Those are the best ones. The unexpected ones.
I like to think of my prayer life like my online shopping! Think about it! It’s something that you can do from the comfort of your home, and you can do it while you are doing many other things. I know myself, I love to pray while I am making supper, or whenever I am washing the dishes. Another multi-tasker’s dream come true. You can pray at any time, any where.
Again, I still like going to church and praying with the community there, just like the department store but I have to say, my favorite place to pray is at home where I can do other things at the same time! I would never online shop while I’m driving, but it is another place that my family and I pray…driving and praying is not banned by the government, like texting and driving…not yet anyway.
The best part of praying is the reward when you finally realize that your prayers have been answered! Just like opening your purchases, in the brown boxes, when they arrive you get that endorphin release when you get answered prayers. An indescribable feeling!
There is no topping those late arriving prayers either, just like the parcels from Korea or Hong Kong, that take longer than you planned. You might have said your prayer about a certain aspect long ago, and it never arrived…never arrived…never arrived and then, BAM! It shows up one day, and you forgot you even asked for it in prayer. You have to chuckle to yourself when you realize you forgot all about praying for it and then when you least expected it,  you finally receive your blessing.
There are multiple verses in the bible that explain the power of prayer, but one of my favorites has to be, from my favorite book, Matthew.  Matthew 7:7-8 ensures us, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
If we don’t ask for it in prayer, how do you expect it to transpire? Parcels don’t show up on my doorstep by luck, or by chance. I have to go online and order them. Just like you have to say a prayer for all your wishes, and you will see great changes happen in your life. There will be times that the prayer takes longer to show up then others, but God is working it all out in his own time, we just have to be patient. Just like a parcel that is coming from Hong Kong, it may take a while.
If we take the time to form our relationship with God, and learn to pray without ceasing, it is even more fulfilling than online shopping. Lately, I find myself craving to get know God better.  I find it even more enticing than searching for that online daily find! Give it a try and watch your relationships, your work, your life and your family’s shopping cart fill up with the many blessing that are waiting for you out there…you just have to ask, and as his word says, “it will be given to you.

What are you waiting for?  Pray today!

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