Teachable Path

I enjoy going for my summer runs, but I have to admit, the favorite part of my run is my cool down!  It is the part of my run that I get to walk!  How sweet is that right?  I get to walk, and get my breath back and feel the effort that I just put in come to a close.  It’s the part of my run that makes me feel glad that even though I didn’t want to go for a run that day that I did.

Every time that I walk up my street for my cool down, it is amazing the things that are placed in my path and catch my eye.  Very random stuff end up crossing my path, and usually it is something that I love to take home and use as teachable moments for my children.

One day I found a dead toad that was squashed and actually frying on the hot pavement.  My son loves biology and since I knew he’d be fascinated with this little dead toad, I tried to scrape it up off the pavement, but to my disgust, it actually was officially baked onto the road.  I couldn’t budge the sucker.

Another day, on my cool down, I found a rolled up joint, that was only about a quarter smoke.  I picked this bad boy up and carried it home because this was an AWESOME teachable moment for my children! Only to my surprise, when I came into my house, my son quickly question, “Mom!  What are you doing with a joint?”  I couldn’t believe he knew what it was, but I guess in grade 8 there is a great education program in the school system informing them on the street drugs.  Nevertheless, my daughter did benefit from my cool-down education program.

The most beautiful dragonfly was another one of my finds on my cool down routine.  Sadly, it had been struck by a car, and was laying on the pavement desperately trying to take flight again.  I was excited again to bring home another great find, but when I picked him up in my hand that was all he needed to take flight and return to his family somewhere in my neighborhood.  Disappointed that I didn’t have the dragonfly for another educational session, I continued home with an overflowing heart that I did help save the beautiful insect.

Just like my cool down path, we all have our own path of life that we are exploring.  We all have different things crossing our paths on a daily basis.  It’s what we choose to do with these crossings that determine what we do in life.  I love using my life experiences to educate my children and use things that happen to me to prevent them from harm, or help them understand life better.

The biggest part of my path that I share with my children is that we all make mistakes, and hardships in life are all a test to help develop you into what you are to become.  I also love to share my path of spirituality and of the word of the Bible.  It is written in Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

All of us have things put in our paths now and then that we may not be happy about.  Maybe it wasn’t even our choice that our path went haywire, but someone in our lives changed our path without us realizing.  Maybe you lost your job unexpectedly, or your spouse threw your life for an unexpected loop, or you lost a dearly beloved and feel like your path has ended.  If this is happening in your life, realize it is just a learning experience thrown in your path to help you grow as an individual.  You can decide to change your path, or hang in there and use the hardships as teachable moments for yourself, and for others.

We all have our stumbles and falls along our path of life, but if we use our teachable moments to grow in God’s word and form a deeper bond with our Lord Jesus Christ, when other things cross our path, we will be ready to handle anything.  God will help make your path straight!

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Jen Kish’s Story

How about the women from Canada at the Olympics?  They definitely made their mark in history, and rose to the occasion.  Of course I loved watching the gymnastics, but I also found the woman’s rugby fascinating.  I never enjoyed rugby, because I thought it was barbaric, but this time, something captivated me.

What captivated me, you may wonder?  I stumbled across an interview on the life of the team captain, Jen Kish.  It was incredible.  She was estranged from her mother, and was raised by her father and he inspired her with his determination to succeed in life, no matter the obstacles, and his “I can do anything” attitude.

Once I heard her story, and saw one particular tattoo that was on her neck, I just found the sport more remarkable.  Everyone has a story, and for her to rise above what she went through, make it to the Olympics and lead her team to win a medal, made me so proud of her.

People may judge her because she is littered with tattoos, and seems very punk like, but in reality, she is a sweet, passionate lady, that learns from her experiences.  Her father worked two jobs helping support her dream, and while she was pursing this dream she was also going through a painful time with her brother.

This lady’s story gripped me and I wanted to learn more.  I started to pay close attention to all her tattoos.  One arm reads “Dance like no one is watching, Sing like no one is listening.” The other reads “Laugh like you’ve never been hurt, Live like it’s heaven on earth.” Then on her bicep she has written, “Live true” and “Love life.” Another tattoo reads “What I do today is important.”  The one that grabbed my attention initially was, “In God I trust”.  She reports that she got this tattoo when she was 19 and that she believes in God, but not in organized religion.

After hearing this, I started thinking how many of the Olympians have very sad stories and it made me appreciate their accomplishments even more.  I read gymnast, Gabby Douglas’s, book after her last Olympics and what she went through was unreal.  Again, she relied heavily on her spiritual connection and relationship with God to get her to where she is and gives God all the credit for her accomplishments.

James 1:2-4 teaches, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Is it a coincident that all the athletes I seem to read and hear about have a strong spiritual side?  I don’t think so.  These athletes do exactly as James 1:2-4 teaches them.  They use their trials as a form of testing of their faith and they become steadfast in the belief and power of God, and they eventually become perfect and complete, lacking nothing, just like God’s word says!

Next time you come across a trial in your life, instead of complaining, thank God for the test and use it as a blessing to grow you into the perfect and complete person he has designed you to become.  God is just like Jen Kish’s dad, and wants you to use the obstacles placed purposely in your path as a way to use your, “I can do anything attitude.”

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Tornado Warning

I couldn’t believe my eyes last week!  There was a Tornado Warning for the southern part of my province.  A tornado is unheard of in our area, but somehow, some way there was a warning issued by Environment Canada and the social media sites were in a frenzy.  People were sharing and posting their thoughts.  One part of me, my outer self, was thinking how thrilling it would be to actually witness a tornado, but then the rational part of me though of the devastation that it could bring.

Visions of television newscasts flashed before my eyes, giving me a very quick reminder that these bad boys can rip homes right off their foundations.  They could turn cars over like pancakes.  This isn’t a time to want to experience a tornado for the fun of just to say that I’ve lived through a tornado.  Actually, who’s to say that I might even live through it?

Eventually my rational, inner self kicked in and reminded me of the damage a tornado could leave a family, and this is one girl that doesn’t want her family uprooted or homeless.  But how many grown adults make choices thinking only of how amazing something might be to experience.  Just like I did with the tornado.  I see many marriages struggling because people want the thrill of seeing that tornado that they haven’t ever seen or experienced even if it is going to bring total destruction to their entire family.  They don’t think with their rational, inner selves but instead they want the adrenaline rush and let their outer selves win.

I’m sure almost every marriage has experienced it.  When I think back how I used to be with my husband when we were first dating, our relationship is only a shadow of what that once was.  My life revolved around my boyfriend that eventually became the man I call my husband.  I would plan exciting trips for us.  My evenings were all about him!  I would spend my entire day dreaming of thrilling things for us to fill our lives with.  I wanted him to think that I was the bomb.  The girl that he could never live without.

I did convince him of this and landed, what was to me, the most incredible man in the entire universe.  He was definitely my tornado, and I was loving the experience of the thrill of new love and all that came with it.  We experienced so many firsts together.  He is the first person that I went to a tropical place with.  He was the first person that I moved in with.  He was the first person that felt like I couldn’t live without.

We eventually got married and time quickly ticked by.  We had many more firsts together.  First new home.  First child.  First time business owners.  Two children family.  First official family vacation.  As we kept notching more firsts into our story of marriage, many other notches were being made too.  Notches of total exhaustion trying to balance it all.  Notches of financial strain that comes with two very active and expensive children.  Notches of many stored up emotions that were left uncommunicated.

Now the tornado is reaching new levels of danger.  No longer are we married to the person of our dreams, but we feel like we are in the eye of the storm.  Years of hurt, anger, bitterness, disappointment, and total fatigue are swirling around in an angry rage now, and we are left with a marriage that is now under a Tornado Warning.

You can deny it, or try and hide it from the world, but every marriage goes through some sort of Tornado Warning.  You can go out and play in that warning, and seek the areas that your marriage might be lacking in.  Usually it’s attention, because we all get wrapped up in the reality of life, kids, work, and more work.  Then someone else starts giving us that attention that we are feeling neglected by our spouse.  Finally,  the person you might work with, see at the gym, or other people your path crosses are finally making you feel good again.  Then you want to seek the thrill of the storm, even if it means that your entire world is going to crumble around you.

Psalms 107:29 says, “He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.”  Your tornado warning can be calmed, if you turn to your Divine Creator and ask him to calm your storm.  You don’t have to give into the thrill or the total devastation it might cause.  You have the power through God to calm your marriage storm, and restore it back to what it was when you first met.

Our actual Tornado Warning was very short lived, and hopefully if you are feeling a tornado coming on in your marriage yours will be short lived too.  Of course to free your marriage of a tornado warning, it is going take work, and some attention.  Just try remembering what it was like to be with your boyfriend, or girlfriend before they became your spouse.  Make an effort to do the things that you used to do for them.  You might think that your spouse isn’t filling your needs, but did you ever wonder if you are filling theirs?

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Ellie Black’s Stumble

I write this blog with a huge mix of emotions.  The Canadian Woman’s Gymnastics Team didn’t make it to the Team Finals at the Olympics.  We had such high hopes, and we were gripped to the television on Sunday night, cheering and shouting at the television, only to watch the unimaginable happen.

The devastation all started at their first rotation on the balance beam.  Four girls get to compete, and the top three scores are added together to give them a score on each event.  If a gymnast falls off the beam they lose and entire point.  This is a huge deduction for a gymnast, and if Canada wanted to make it to the Team Finals, they had to have at least three of the four gymnast “stick” their routine.  This means that they do not fall off the beam.

Guess what?  Two of the four girls fall off the beam.  We couldn’t believe our eyes.  Our favorite gymnast, Ellie Black from Nova Scotia, was one of the gymnasts that fell.  She was Canada’s chance at a medal in the Event Final round.  She was a strong beam performer and had medaled on this event at the Panam Games, so all she had to do was “stick” her routine.  Sadly, this didn’t play out as planned.

As I study the book of James, I’m falling in love with this part of the scripture.  James, Jesus’s half- brother has so much wisdom in every verse and as I read James 3:2, “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, fable also to bridle his whole body.”  In other words, nobody is perfect.

The camera zoomed in on Ellie’s face, and I could see the disappointment in her eyes.  I just wanted to give her a hug and explain, we all stumble!  We all make mistakes.  Nobody is perfect.  The Olympics doesn’t define who she was as a gymnast.  I had so much I wanted to tell her through the television screen, but of course, she couldn’t hear me.

When I look back at my own life, oh how I have stumbled!  Thank goodness I have forgiving people in my life.  I’m fortunate to have people that supported me through all my stumbles.  It’s easy to see our own stumbles and want people to forgive us, but when it is the other person stumbling we tend not to be so supportive, and it is difficult to forgive people.  I know.  I’ve been there.

How many of us have people in our lives that seem to continuously stumble and hurt us?  Maybe it is a friend, a family member or even your spouse.  Some stumbles are harmless and easy to forgive, but when people we love stumble big time, it is harder to forgive.  Just like Ellie Black.  The sad thing is if she lets this stumble on the beam manifest inside of her, she might never be the same.  She stumbled at the Olympics.  Is there a bigger stumble?

We have to realize that we all stumble.  Even people we love will hurt us.  We may ever hurt ourselves and never forgive ourselves.  We have to learn to forgive these people, and most importantly ourselves.  We have to learn to let go of this negative emotion and move forward, otherwise these unnecessary feelings fester inside of us.

Learn from your stumbles, and realize, you aren’t the only one who stumbles and that people you love and hold in high regards are going to stumble too.  Be patient with your Stumbler and yourself and make changes in your life so that you will not make that same stumble again.   God wants you to take your stumbles, and help others that have stumbled this way too, and make them realize that they aren’t alone.

Ellie Black didn’t let this negative emotion fester in her.  This lady definitely moved forward, because Thursday she came back to compete in the All Around Competition and came 5th place overall!  That is the best a Canadian gymnast have ever placed in the history of the Olympics.  This incredible athlete recovered from a stumble to sketch her name forever in Canadian Olympic history.

How’s that for learning?  Way to go Ellie!  Nobody will remember the stumble, but everyone will always remember the victory!  All of Canada is very proud of you!

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Rips of Life

Have you ever taken a close look at a gymnasts’ hands?  They are full of calluses and scars from the friction of the bar on their hands.  It’s something to see.  Being a retired gymnast myself, I haven’t done gymnastics for over 25 years but I still have scars on my hands from what once was a high friction area against the bar.  It’s something that I will always have with me.

The rule in our gym is they have to have five rips, or tears in your hands in five different areas to be allowed to stop bars and move to something else.  Just because the skin on your hand pulls away and leaves unprotected skin open to the elements doesn’t give you a way out of training.  There may be a time that these girls have to compete with a ripped hand, and they have to deal with the pain and learn to live with it.  As the old saying goes, “It is far from the heart.”

For my daughter, I paid a ton of money for this little jar of hand cream that is to heal rips in 24 hours, and it also claims to prevent rips from happening if you apply it to your hands on a regular basis, or when you feel that a rip is starting to form.  This cream better work wonders for the price it cost me.  She isn’t a complainer, but my motherly instinct kicks in when I see hands that have huge open wounds.

How many of us are living like these gymnasts?  We might not have visible tears on our hands for all the world to see, but we are dealing with painful circumstance that we have to push through and continue with life of pain, no matter how bad we hurt.  Life’s circumstances adds up on us.  Before we realize it, we are dealing with many different conflicts and trying to hide tons of pain from outside world.

What we do with the circumstance is what determines our destiny.  We can wine about it, and feel sorry for ourselves—like many of my gymnasts do.  Geeze, for some of my athletes you would swear they were losing an arm from the dramatic performances they display.  Other athletes, you would never know they even have an open wound on their hand, they just keep dredging through without a word.  A piece of the skin from the palm of their hand tears away from its spot, and they just finish tearing the skin off and keep swinging away.

As a coach, it’s natural to love the athlete that just tears the skin and keeps on working hard.  These are the kids that are mentally strong.  A difficulty comes their way, and they pay no attention to it.  This is what our Heavenly Father wants us to do with our difficulties in life.  Tear through the pain and turn to him for strength.

Life is going to rip you to shreds sometimes.  We have to learn to stay strong and realize that sometimes, we can’t make it through tough times alone.  We weren’t meant to make it through life alone.  That isn’t how God created us.  He made us to rely on him for support and when we are feeling these rips of life coming on, we should lean on him.  He should be our expensive hand cream of life that will help our hands of life from ripping to shreds.

Isaiah 40:29 says, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”  Just like when a gymnast feel a weakness forming on your hands, she can lace the cream to the spot and have it magically heal.  The same holds true with God.  All you have do is form a relationship with him, and ask him for his help.

All gymnasts get rips, but they help my them develop as athletes.  Our rips in life help us mature as individuals, and become all that God created us to be.  Grab your expensive hand cream of life—called the Bible, and start lacing your life with expertise from the scripture.  Life won’t seem so dramatic, and you will grow strong through His Word and his everlasting love.

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Broken Olympic Dreams

My heart is broken!  Have you heard that a French male gymnast broke his leg vaulting on day one of the Olympic Games.  What are the chances?  I’m no statistical genius, but I know that this man trained probably around 30 hours a week and performed this skill multiple times.  How could this happen to such a skilled athlete?

If you aren’t familiar with the way gymnastics works at the Olympic level, I’ll give you a brief explanation.  The first day, the gymnasts compete with their national squad on all four (WAG) or six (MAG) apparatus. The scores from this session are not used to award medals, but are used to determine which teams advance to the team finals and which individual gymnasts advance to the all-around and event finals. After this first day, the gymnast advance to Team Finals, All-Around Finals, and then Event Finals.  These are the competitions that the gymnast can win a medal.

As I watched them place his incredibly muscular body on the stretcher, my heart broke.  This man trained his entire career for this opportunity of making it to these coveted games, and on the first day he broke his leg.  How could his story be written like this?

I know it’s not all about winning a medal.  Just making it to the Olympics is an extreme accomplishment that many people never get to experience.  However, being an athlete myself, I never went to an event that I didn’t plan to give it my absolute best.  I know this misfortune is going to bring this male much devastation.

How many of us have dreams, and we almost see it to the end, but break our leg on day one?  Did you ever feel like you are working so hard at something and you just can’t see the end in sight?  Whatever your dream was, don’t give up on it.  It was put in your heart for a reason, and when the going gets tough, that is just a test to see if you want this dream enough.

This male gymnast still has hopes to get a medal at the Olympic Games.  That is why there is a team award.  Sure, his Olympic experience didn’t quite follow the dream he envisioned, but his experience is still not over.  Male gymnasts’ careers are much longer than women’s and he might be able to make the Olympics again in four years’ time.

Life is going to chuck a broken leg, or other setbacks, at us many times in our lifetime.  It’s what we do with our lives after the bone heals that will determine how our life will continue to roll.  You can admit defeat, and change your dream, or you can get back up on the vault strip and try that vault again and see where it takes you.

Ephesians 3:20 tells us, “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,”  We can do far more than we think we can do, but so many of us don’t ask or think that God can provide what we want him to provide.  We forget to use his amazing power to help us get over our hurdles to reach our dreams.

Sure, this man is heartbroken now—geeze, I am heartbroken for him.  I am more than positive that if he turns to God to help him heal quickly and return to the gymnastics gym, he can become an even better gymnast in four years’ time, if it is God’s will.  We just have to be patient and wait for the miracles to unfold.

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Olympic Perspective

Are you loving the Olympics as much as I am?  I can honestly say I rarely watch television, but, I couldn’t wait for the games to begin!  Now the television is rarely off and probably will remain on until the end of this two weeks of Olympic Games.  I find it captivating.  These people worked so hard to get to these games.  It’s a miracle really!

The week before the games begin we heard lots of different things that were going wrong at the games.  It seemed to be all I heard.  The paranoia about the Zika virus, the quality of the air and water.  The poor Australians got robbed, a sports related kidnapping, and a jujitsu star was robbed by police officers.  Brazil sounds like a crazy spot, doesn’t it?  Well, in comparison to Canada.

The one that really struck me funny was the report that Team USA was reporting that the twin size beds that had to sleep on were too small.   Really?  I had to shake my head and then of course, that got me thinking!  All of the complaints are all in a person’s perspective.  Everyone can find a complaint, if they focus on the negative.  To me, the media was just trying to find things to complain about and nitpick on.

Think about it.  I wonder if a homeless person would find that the beds too small to sleep on that the poor USA Olympic team were complaining about.  Or would a person who came from Lucknow, India, think the air quality was poor in Brazil?  Lucknow is the city that is reported to have the worst air pollution levels on the planet.  Indian athletes might find the air quality in Rio great.  Again.  All in perception.

The same goes for us.  We all have things in our lives that bother us.  Think about the things that you might complain about daily.  I used to have many.  I know I went around the house grumbling about this and that.  I can’t think of how unbearable I was to live with.   Grumbling that this wasn’t done or that wasn’t done, but the only person it seemed to bother was me.

You want me to give you an example of what I would have to complain about every day?  My husband leaves his jacket on the back of the chair.  Every day.  Did I complain?  You bet ya!  It has been an ongoing battle, but finally I had to change my perspective on this.  I couldn’t change my husband, but I could change me.  It didn’t bother my husband that his coat was hanging on the chair of the kitchen table, it was me that it bothered.  So, I started hanging it up.

I had to change the way I thought about something so silly that I was letting upset me.  At least I had a husband in my life to hang his jacket up.  I’m sure there would be many woman in this world who would love to have a great husband like mine.  My husband is healthy, hardworking and an incredible provider for myself and our children.  Our family was still together, which these days is a miracle in itself.  Once I started looking at my life this way, I was just excited for him to get home from work so I could hang his jacket up for him.  No longer did I let such a meaningless habit steal my joy, but instead, I cherished the joy that I had in the man that wore that jacket.

James 5:9 explains, “Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.”  I have been guilty of grumbling about one another a lot.  Thank goodness I am trying to fix this sinful nature in me.  Since I have stopped grumbling, many things have changed in our home, my job and even in my heart.

Life is too short to be grumbling about everything.  Instead look at the positive things in your life.  You just have to adjust your perception on the situation and find the good in things.  We take many things for granted, like our water and air quality, the safety that we have, the beds we sleep on and that we have jackets that we can hang in our closet.  Take a different perspective in your life today, and see if your home, job and heart change.  My guess is, they will!

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School Supply Season

It’s the second week of August already!  My daughter has been haunting me since the end of July to go and buy school supplies.  School supplies!!!  Can you imagine?  In July!  It honestly sends shivers up my spine, but I told her it was a rainy day activity.  Sure enough, first hint of rain meant we had to hit Staples.

The entire shopping visit, my daughter kept asking me what was wrong.  Wrong?  Honestly, she had to ask me that!  I’m a teacher and the thought of going back to school in July was not my idea of a great time.  Don’t get me wrong, by the end of August, I will be more than ready to go back to school and start another season of my life, but I want to enjoy this beautiful time of year first.

How many of us get pushed or forced into a new season of our lives before we are ready—like me with the school supply shopping.  Maybe you lost a job, or didn’t get the promotion you’ve been working for.  Could it be that a relationship ended and you weren’t prepared for this?  Did you lose a love one, because that is never fun?!  We’ve all been there.  Facing disappointments that we never thought we’d be facing.

Whatever it is forcing you into another season in your life, try not to fight it.  I know that might seem extremely hard right now, but as time passes and you try to roll with the changes that you are facing, life will smooth out faster.  You have to realize that we can’t control everything in our lives.  The only thing we can control is how we deal with situations or circumstance that we are faced with.

I love routine!  The thought of changing my summer time schedule to my fall routine brings anxiety with just the thought of it.  I’ve been crazy busy this past summer traveling with sports, but  I will be even busier in another way once I get back to working full time and coaching yet still having to run with sports.  The thought of it makes me cringe.  Once I’m in that season, the time flies by and I love it, but when I’m out of it, the thought of getting back to it can be overwhelming.

Everyone goes through seasons in their lives.  Great seasons and some hard seasons.  I lived beside this wise old man at my first home who theorized that our lives change every seven years and as I age and look back at things in my life, and circumstance out of my control, I feel the old man may be onto something.

Acts 1:7 explains, “He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.”  I guess, what I am trying to tell you is that we can’t control or understand why we go through the seasons in our lives that we go through.  I’m sorry that your relationship didn’t work out, or you lost your job or worse still, a loved one.  It’s devastating, but it is all part of God’s authority, and only he can help you understand why you have to go through these tough seasons.

If you make yourself weather the season, and go buy those dreaded school supplies, life may get easier.  You might feel a weight lifted.  We have to stop fighting the inevitable, the parts of our lives we can’t change, then our mind will be more at rest.  We might not like it, and just like my daughter could feel my uneasiness with being at Staples and see the hurt in my eyes, it is all part of life.

You can control how you feel and how you look at life.  That part you can understand and is of your authority.  Leave the rest in God’s hands and make the best out of the season you are in, even if you see the fall, and school starting soon.  That too will pass.

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Friday Night Fun

Even though I’m a teacher and I am off for the summer, I still love my Friday nights!  I anxiously await them all week.  As a family, we have our regular Friday routine and I am a person who thrives on routines.  Who is here to enjoy our Friday nights with us, is usually always different, but four thing remain constant—family, fun, fires, and good tunes.

Last Friday night, our children had many friends over enjoying the pool and escaping the heat of the summer.  My husband and I were just wondering outside, getting ready to start the fire, when all of a sudden it started to down pore.

We rushed inside for shelter, but the kids remained happily frolicking around and playing in the pool.  Some even got out of the pool and started jumping on the trampoline during this hard rain storm.  As I admired their attitudes from my kitchen window in the dry shelter of our home I started thinking how awesome it was that they didn’t let the rain ruin their fun.  I always learn so much from our children and their youthful attitudes.

Eventually, the rain stopped and the bright blue skies opened up again.  Our Friday night was saved, and my husband and I went out to dry off everything and start the fire as we had planned.  The kids continued to play, and I don’t think they even noticed that it stopped raining.  Nothing was spoiling their night.

Just like life, we are going to have a few unexpected rain showers, but it is what you do during these rainy times that determine the outcome of your life.  Are you going to be like me and hide from the rain, or are you going to have a childlike heart and continue to play when times get wet.

Matthew 18:1-4 explains, “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Why do we lose this childlike heart?  Why do we become bitter when things don’t go as we planned?  Why do we have to let our experiences in life bring us down?  Just like the rain shower on Friday night, dark days do pass and the sun will shine again.  It is hard to play through this rain, as the children in my household did, but it is what we have to do to make it through the rough times until the sun starts to peek out from behind a dark cloud.

Stay in hope and try changing your outlook on life.  Whatever it is you are dealing with right now (reality is we are all dealing with stuff), try to have that childlike attitude and play through this rainy period you are experiencing.  I know you might not like it right now, but once you get wet, you won’t even realize that you are wet anymore and you might actually start to enjoy it.

Try to get back in touch with your youth and become that child that God created you to be.  Humble yourself to think, feel and act like the child you once were.  Your reward will come, and you will love the difference it makes in your life.

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Yoga Spirited Athletes

Did you hear the latest craze?  Baseball players are doing yoga!  How crazy is that?  I just hear bits and pieces as the television in my living room is constantly on some kind of sports channel.  A person has to be deaf not to overhear Mad Dog when he is in one of his tangents.  We’ve been doing yoga in gymnastics for years, and seeing the benefits of it, but I love how what was once frowned upon and ridiculed by many of the “Man’s Man” type are finally opening their minds to the far off chance that it might help them in their sports as well.

I’ve been having my son do yoga stretches for years.  His volleyball coach laughs because she was also a gymnastics coach and is all too familiar with my yoga routine, and my son will be caught doing his yoga routine off on the sidelines during volleyball practice.  I can’t stress doing yoga stretches enough to children that are growing, it relieves those growing pains and helps the bones grow to their full potential, because their ligaments and tendons are lax enough to let the bones elongate.

Yoga is increasing in popularity in every sport now.  People are finally realizing the importance of keeping flexible around the joint and having a fluid and strong range of motion for injury prevention.  Having tight muscles limit the athlete’s ability to perform to their optimal potential, and we all want to reach our optimal potential if we are going to put many hours into a sport.

I have one friend who will not do yoga because she feels like it is worshiping another God.  As I am sure you may be aware, yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual activity or discipline which originated in ancient India and can be linked to the religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.  I can understand my friend’s reluctance in not worshiping any other God but that of our Lord Jesus Christ, but to me, participating in a few innocent yoga stretches to elongate your tendons and ligaments to become a more flexible and stronger athlete is not worshiping another God.  It is just another form of stretching.

It is all in perception as most religious disputes are.  I honor that my friend is that firm in her beliefs and has chosen not to partake in the practice of yoga.  In all honesty, my son, my daughter, my athletes and I all participate in this activity without even realizing we may be jeopardizing our trip to Heaven.  I sure hope the parents of my gymnasts don’t think I am somehow trying to sabotage their children into worshiping another God.

Even after my friend explained her reservations and why she made the decision to stay away from such a discipline, it didn’t change my beliefs on yoga.  I see its benefits.  I honor its history and origin, but I am not connecting to any spirit or worshiping any other God while performing these stretches.  It’s totally innocent stretching.

Since yoga originated in ancient India and was practiced by other religions I can see some people’s hesitations, but I feel we have to stop analyzing everything to death.  Is doing yoga changing your love for our Divine Creator?  It doesn’t for me.  Is doing yoga changing your heart into a heart that would disappoint your loving Father in Heaven?  It doesn’t change my heart!  Than to me, yoga is harmless.  All it is in my world is a method to maximize flexibility and range of motion around a joint.

In the book of 1 Peter verse 3:15-16, the scripture tells us, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”  I feel my friend has her reason for choosing not to do yoga and I respect that, but I have my reason for choosing to do yoga and she respects that.

Doing yoga doesn’t change my heart’s honor for Christ the Lord as holy, but it does change the range of motion around any person’s joint.  Just like the Baseball Gurus who finally opened their minds to the fact that yoga could benefit their athletes just like it benefits a gymnast, I also think it’s time to open our mind that every religion may have something wonderful in it to benefit the human race.  We don’t have to let anything affect our love for our Lord and Savior, but an open-mind and loving heart towards anything beneficial would make our God a very proud father.

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