Monday, December 16, 2013

Oh God...Bases Loaded!


The sun was shining amid a rare breeze, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky….weather you normally see only on a postcard – and seldom in central Texas. The Harvey Little League stands were full of moms, dads, and roasted peanut shells. One brief glance at field #5 and anyone who had eyes and ears could tell the situation was tense and critical, at least for the spectators looking on. The bases were loaded with two outs, and the home team at bat was down by a run in the final inning of play. It was every 10-year old boy’s dream situation…a scenario each eager boy in the dugout had rehearsed in his own mind a thousand times – a once in a lifetime chance to be the big hero (just like on TV)! Yes sir, the dream of every boy on the team….except Teddy that is. You see, Teddy had been content all season to play his inning in the field, take his obligatory turn at bat (as the rules mandated), and afterwards cash in on a delicious grape snow cone with his teammates. The way he looked at things, it made perfect sense. From the dugout he could ponder the upcoming weekend’s activities, blow some Bazooka bubbles, pat other players on the back, and walk home in a clean uniform (if he was careful with the snow cone that is)! On this day, Teddy’s mind was occupied…he had no idea what was happening on the field 40 feet away. He was hoping they were winning, though, because the coach was always happier when they won.

The coach seemed both embarrassed and frustrated when he beckoned Teddy to grab his bat and go to the plate. Teddy had no clue what was going on in the game, so he followed his usual ritual. He tucked the Bazooka gum in his pants pocket, then grabbed a helmet and pulled it down over his forehead to the point where his eyes were barely visible and his ears were sticking out. He then yanked his oversized pants up toward his chest (ala Urkel), and found his bat tucked away in the corner by some discarded gum wrappers. Since the bat always felt too heavy to him, he never found it necessary to expend energy by carrying the bat all the way to the batter’s box, especially when dragging it would work just fine.
When Teddy emerged from the dugout, the situation in front of him suddenly sunk in like an outbreak of the measles. Reluctantly, Teddy with head hanging down, shoulders slumped, and dragging the heavy bat in the sand behind him...made his way slowly to the plate. When he heard the cheers from what seemed like hundreds of spectators chanting his name, he slowly peered up, surveyed his surroundings and his teammates on base, caught a glimpse of the scoreboard, and mumbled with fear and exasperation...“OH GOD...BASES LOADED!”

Have you ever been there? Yea you have...we all have. Life is just going along just fine - blue skies, head in the clouds, sailing along enjoying your grape snow cone... then BLAM...you're thrown into the raging waters and things begin to mount up against you. Taking a look around and surveying the circumstances, you think to yourself...
"Oh God, Bases Loaded!" And just like Teddy, at that point, we become overwhemled with fear.FEAR- False Evidence Appearing Real!
It stops us in our tracks. It holds us back. It keeps us at a standstill.
The stronghold of fear...False Evidence Appearing Real...hinders us from being all that we are created to be.
In these times all we have to do is stand and take courage that we do not stand alone. Even if you're only standing on the inside, just stand. With courage and determination continue to keep standing and putting one foot in front of the other in order to walk through the false evidence that is appearing real.
In order to cross over that river of fear, we have to come to the edge and put our toes in the water. God will part the waters for you but you have to get your feet wet or as in Teddy's case...step into the batter's box.

So next time you look up and want to breathe...
"OH GOD..BASES LOADED
,"...just step up to the plate, stand, steady yourself, and take that first swing. What matters most is not whether you hit the ball or you struck out, but that you faced your fear with courage and determination and made it to the other side.

(I would like to thank my sweet husband for helping me with the baseball game set up in this blog. This happened at one of the many little league games I attended through the years. What a lesson I learned from one of those brave little players, "Teddy!")

Sunday, July 22, 2012

It's the REAL thing!

                                                                                                                                                                               Do you remember the “old”..yes I said old...Coke Commercial?
Their song went like this...
”It’s the REAL thing, Coke is. That’s the way it should be!
What the world wants to see...It’s the REAL thing!
That’s the way it is...with a bottle of coke and the way it will stay.
What the world wants today...It’s the REAL thing!”
Well that is today’s topic...being REAL!
Living the Authentic life!
And just as the song says...”It’s what the world..people want...the REAL thing...the REAL you!” How can you truly be of use to others or be someone others can relate to, if you’re not the REAL you!
I may not have known the word authentic in first grade, but I knew I didn’t like fake. When I lived in Virginia, there was a girl in my first grade class named Cindy. My Mom thought she was so cute and she always wanted me to include her in my sleep-overs, birthday parties and such. I remember telling me Mom, “I don’t like her and I don’t want to be around her!” I think this took my Mom by surprise and she asked why I felt that way. I then explained to her that Cindy did not tell the truth, she hurt people’s feelings and most of all she acted like two different people. This was my first awareness of “fakeness” and I knew right then and there, I had no use for “fakeness” in my life.
Years later, in high school, one of my favorite songs was...
“Got to Be Real” and it went like this...
“What you find...What you feel, What you know..It’s Got to be REAL!”
And as I would boogie oogey oogey to this song, I could feel those words resonating within me! Yea, that’s what it’s all about...It’s Got to be Real or it’s of no use! Be real girl...Be real!
What does it mean to live an Authentic life?
Authentic – not false, genuine, verified, lack of falsehood, the certification that an object (or person) is what it claims to be! The state of being REAL!
I think in this day and time it is getting harder to know what is authentic. The internet allows us to create a world that is not real..not authentic...in other words...Fake! We can make it “appear” to be whatever we want it to be. Therefore creating a “happy little planet” that no one else can identify with or relate to. And by doing this, we actually alienate ourselves from others because who can relate to “perfect?” I can’t! My life is far from perfect and so am I! I am flawed and cannot even begin to relate to perfection. My husband and I sometimes fuss, my children don’t always act or choose how I would like for them too, I’ve not always followed the rules, I disappoint friends, and have often gone in the wrong direction! That my friends is a look into a REAL life! I never, ever, ever...did I say...EVER want to appear to have it all together. Because I don’t...no one does! Life is about learning, growing, overcoming and being a better you than you were yesterday. It is wise to remember that even though people can paint any picture they want to paint, things are most of the times not always as they “appear” to be. Everyone...everyone has a story and we can all learn from each other’s story if we are the REAL thing! One of the greatest compliments I have been given was for someone to tell me...”I like being with you because you’re so REAL!”
It is what it is..so why not
be open,
be transparent,
be genuine
because that’s the way it should be!
As we used to say in high school...”Awe...Get Real!!!”
Knock down those falsehoods in your life.
Paint the truest story of you!
Be relatable!
Live an Authentic Life!
How do you do that?
Grab yourself a Coke and learn from Jiminy Cricket when he told Pinocchio,  
“Boy, be REAL and let your conscience be your Guide!”

Friday, April 20, 2012

Unforgivenss is like a Prison...


Unforgiveness is like a Prison...it keeps someone imprisoned and the prisoner is YOU!
It is like choosing to stay strapped in a jail cell for someone else's crime.
Many years ago when I was in junior high, I came home one day just heartbroken. My Mom immediately saw my distress and asked what was wrong. I then began to tell her how this girl at school had been so vicious with her words and all the cruel things she had said TO me and ABOUT me. This mean girl had pointed out things about me that I didn’t even know were wrong with me and had made fun of them to my face. As I told my Mom the story, I began to sob. The hateful words had wounded me deeply. After I finished pouring out all the “yucky stuff”, Mom once again, was there with her infinite wisdom to guide me through this tough life lesson that I would encounter many more times in my life.
And here was her advice to me...
Mom: “Tonya, if that girl called you a box, would you believe it?”
Me: “No!”
Mom: “Why not?”
Me: “Cuz, I ain’t No box!” (said with attitude!)
Mom: “So if she called you a box it doesn’t mean that you ARE a box, right? Just because she spoke the words, doesn’t make it necessarily SO!
Reject it! Don’t adopt hurtful people’s reality of you as YOUR reality!
You know what is true, so trust in that and let it go!”
I could wrap my head around the “box” lesson, but the letting go was hard. I was sad for about two days...whining and crying over what this “mean thang” had said until I realized that all this wasted time I had spent over her was liking handing her the last two days on a silver platter.
We are allotted only a certain about of days on this earth and I had given up TWO of mine over that “yucky” person. Shame on Me!!!
It was like I had wrapped up two perfect days in a box, tied a pretty ribbon around it and said, “Here, tacky girl, these were mine, but you can have them!”
It was there I began to understand the importance of Forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not about the other person it is about YOU.

As long as we hold grudges, it is like a cord that keeps us tied to that other person.
Forgiveness is cutting the cord!

Forgiveness is letting go of the past and moving on.

It is not saying what the person did to you was okay...it is saying you choose not to let them have the opportunity to steal anymore of your precious days!
Unforgiveness and resenting another human being is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die!

The resentment only begins to eat you up inside like a cancer and begins to spread to other areas of your life.
Don’t incarcerate yourself with unforgiveness...that allows the “mean one” to not only steal the moment that they hurt you, but rob you from your future as well.
Your days are far more precious than that!
Extract wisdom from these incidents and move on!

FORGIVE AND SET THE PRISONER FREE!

Monday, January 30, 2012

On Your Mark...Get Set...Go!


Well, here we are...the first month of a new year! It’s a new beginning with a fresh start.
The race of 2011 is over. You have crossed the finish line.

Every finish line, however, is the beginning of a new race.
When I was a child
, I remember with every race I ran during recess or in P.E., there was a 3-part command to start it. And oh how my heart would “race” as I heard: On your Mark...Get Set...Go! With each part of this command I felt the rush of adrenaline. I remember thinking, “Oh my gosh, am I where I’m suppose to be, am I paying attention...don’t be slow to start, but don’t jump the gun... be ready, but don’t move a muscle until you hear the word ...Go!”

On Your Mark...

When you are about to begin a race, you want to have your toe on the mark, which is drawn on the ground to signify the beginning of a race. The mark is the starting point. You are to position yourself at the starting point. But in order to position yourself, you have to look for the mark, find your spot and then put yourself on it! To find your mark you have to act prepared, be prepared, and go prepared! Are you ready for the next race? It doesn’t matter what happened in the past race because it is over, finished, completed. You now have to focus on what is ahead of you, which is your new race. This race will come with its own challenges such as steep inclines, sharp turns, and unforeseen obstacles. Are you prepared? Did you learn lessons in the past race that can benefit you in the new one? Where you finished in the last race doesn’t matter at all. It’s a brand new game. Anything can happen. What matters now is that you put the past behind you and position yourself at the starting point. Do you know your mark? Can you find your mark? Is your toe on your mark waiting for what is to come? Then...

Get Set...

Now that you have your toe on the mark, you must get set. You are situated in your position fixed and unmoving, determined and equipped, ready to Go! There is a plan in place with a purpose for how you will run this race. You are set because you have prepared your mind and body for what will come. Being equipped means that everything necessary for this purpose has been provided. You are like a ship that is well equipped with every mechanical aid it needs to navigate. To get set means to be outfitted, prepared and armored. The training has been completed and you are well equipped for the race no matter the challenges or obstacles. Can you imagine what it would be like if you show up to the race unprepared? What if you didn’t think things through and you came to the race without your running shoes. My stepson, Kristopher, did this one (and only one) time! He had become dependent on someone else preparing for him and he had not equipped himself for his own baseball practice. So when he arrived at practice and the warm-up drill was to run the bases, he was not prepared, outfitted or armored with the proper equipment to run. His coach, which happen to be his father, asked him “Where are your shoes?” which Kristopher replied, “I don’t know. No one gave them to me!” It was then and there he learned a hard yet valuable lesson. He had to run in spite of the fact that he wasn’t prepared. After running on a hard, uneven, dirty ground his “feet” never were unprepared again. There is always a lesson to be learned. In this case, Kristopher learned he and he alone was responsible for being equipped and completely outfitted for his own practice, his next race. What is your lesson learned? Are you set? Are you equipped with all that is needed for the next race? Are you “showing up” prepared and ready? If so, now it’s time to...

Go!

Go! A simple command full of punch! You have arrived at the race, stepped up to the mark, put your toe on the line, set yourself for what is about to happen and you’re waiting, heart pounding, anticipating. Finally you hear the word you’re waiting for... GO! And you’re off in an instant running the race you have equipped yourself for...now what? Run your Own Race, in your Own lane, in your Own world. Stay focused and pay attention to what is AHEAD of you! Don’t be looking over at someone else’s race or looking behind to see if you’re ahead of them. If your attention is on anything else but your OWN race, you’ll be tripping and falling all over the place. Keep your eyes, feet, and focus on your race in your lane. That’s all you have control over so that’s all you should be concerned with. God reminds us of this when He instructs us to fix our eyes on the finish line and run with perseverance the race that is set before us. We are to throw off everything that weighs us down and entangles us because it hinders us from arriving at the finish line. Hindrances such as unforgiveness, disappointment, guilt, resentment, anger, fear, bitterness keep us entangled and unable to run freely the race set before us. Can you imagine running a race with a ton of bricks on your back? How far would you get? Exactly!!! Get those bricks out of your life, free yourself up, and GO forward knowing you are equipped, you are ready and you ARE enough!
Today is a fresh start, a new race so...
On Your Mark... Get Set...GO!




Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Unopened Gift

As we come to the end of another year, I would like to thank you, my faithful readers, for taking the time to read my work and for the encouragement you have given me along the way. With this being the last blog of the year, I would like to share with you a special tradition we have when we celebrate Christmas at my mom's house. For the past 15 years my mother has written a story about events, circumstances, or people that have impacted her life in some way and given it to each of us to add to our Christmas folder. My folder has now become a book full of wisdom, memories, and humor that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Thank you Mom for reminding us what Christmas is all about. Here is the 2011 entry into my Christmas folder written by my beautiful Mom, Karlyn Fedora.

The Unopened Gift
There once lived a man who had a sour disposition concerning everything about life. I met this person when he was old, and thought he was probably just miserable because he was at the end of his life. I learned, however, that he had always been crotchety and mean to his wife, children, and family. My first exposure to him was at Christmas when the family gathered to celebrate that wonderful time of the year.
There was much excitement as the children and older folk went to the living room to exchange gifts for that year. The old man (Grandpa to some of the kids there) sat in the easy chair and waited. Gifts were distributed, and people tore into their presents to see what they had gotten. Oooh’s and ahhh’s were heard from all around. But, not from Grandpa! He let each present lie right where it was and never even picked one up. He never said thank you to the person giving the gift. He never opened the boxes wrapped in such pretty paper. I thought that quite odd and wondered how he could not accept his gifts. How could he just reject the gift which meant he rejected the person giving the gift? How could he just not care at all about the gift or the giver?
Years later, the old man died. In his bedroom closet, on the top two shelves were unopened presents wrapped in pretty paper. In those boxes were shirts, ties, socks... simple gestures of love from someone. The foolish old man died never knowing what he missed by not opening and enjoying his gifts.
At Christmas, this story reminds me of another Gift that has been given. God has given his only Son as a gift because he loves us so much. Jesus is a gift to you and to me. How wonderful it is to receive this special gift, to open it up, to enjoy it everyday for the rest of your life. How loved we feel as we read the Bible, Gods love letter to you and to me. How special it is to go to him in prayer and to tell him things and to ask him what to do about our daily problems.
How sad it is to know that there are many like the foolish, old man. They never unwrap and enjoy the gift. They reject the Gift and the Giver. They knowaboutJesus, but never get to intimately know him. The love letter from God sits on the table and they never read the wonderful words of life written there. The best Gift we can ever receive is the Gift offered to us through Jesus Christ. It is the gift that keeps on giving as we will continue to enjoy it throughout eternity.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Like Sands through the Hourglass...


When I was a child I spent many summer days in the living room with my Granny watching her “show” Days of our Lives. What I remember most about the soap opera is the opening credits where there is a huge hourglass with sand quickly running though it and this deep magnificent voice saying...
”Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of our Lives!”
I remember thinking about the hourglass and how it can only hold so many granules of sand and when those granules are through, that’s it. So from the simple opening of this program I learned that our days are numbered. There are only so many days God has allotted for my life, so I better not waste one of them...because when it’s gone...it’s gone with no way of getting it back. This fact drives deeper within me the older I get because I realize how quickly time passes. When the sun sets on one day of my life, that’s it, I don’t ever get that day back! Therefore, I better learn what I can, experience what I can, and do all that I can because in this lifetime I won’t get a “do over!” Here are just a few lessons I’ve learned along the way!
What a difference a day makes It’s kind of like Texas weather...if you don’t like it one day, just wait, the next day will be totally different. It amazes me how quickly things can change in your life. You are cruising down the road traveling in a certain direction and WHAM...in an instant...your direction has changed. If you are in the “mountaintop” time of life where things are running smoothly, enjoy and soak up every minute because at some point there will be another valley. And that’s just the way it is...you can’t get to another mountaintop without going through the valley. So thank God daily for the peace, tranquility and beauty of the mountaintop. And go ahead and thank Him for the valley that will surely come and the fact that He will be with you on the other side of it. Then when the valley comes, don’t be surprised by it, be ready and equipped knowing there will be lessons learned, blessings in the midst of, and strength gained from walking through the valley. Remember one good thing about the valley - no matter how long it lasts, right around the corner there’s another mountaintop waiting for you! So hangeth thou in there!
It is what it is This is something I have to remind myself of daily. There are many things that are out of my control, things I have no way of changing. The only thing I can change in these circumstances is the way I react to it. There have been several events this past year that I have had to walk through, telling myself every moment...it is what it is, chill, breathe, and let go because God can do a much better job of it than you can! Why is it that we think we can do a better job of fixing things ourselves only to find out we’ve made a bigger mess of it all. Why is it so hard to get out of the drivers seat and just be the passenger! It’s actually more enjoyable to be the passenger. You get to let go of all the worries and stress of navigation. All you have to do is trust the driver, sit back and enjoy the ride! Letting go and letting God is so freeing...you give it to Him and let him think about it all night long...He’s gonna be up anyway!
Two words can change your life...Thank You! Two words...that’s it...can change your life. Try it! One day make it a point to spend the whole day saying thank you and see how you feel at the end of the day. Look around you...what are you thankful for? How about the roof over your head, a coat, family, green grass, the valley (because that means there will be another mountaintop someday), a job, a friend, sunshine that warms you, birds that sing a song to you each morning, second chances, family...etc!!!! There is ALWAYS...ALWAYS something to be thankful for. When you are grateful for what you DO have and concentrate on that, it not only lifts your spirits but also those around you. Even in the midst of deep pain and hurt, find something to be thankful for and concentrate on that one thing. Do it even when you don’t FEEL like it. That is what is called the sacrifice of praise and what will help you with the doldrums and “gloomies” that come in the valley. Remember to also say “thank you” to those around you that are helping you through your day...your spouse, parents, friends, grocery store clerk, bank teller, janitor cleaning the public bathroom, waitress...they are doing what they can to make your life better so be thankful for them by letting them know how much you appreciate them. You have no idea what that simple gesture of thanks can mean to someone. Try it...You’ll like it...live in the Attitude of Gratitude!
Go BIG or Go Home I love this! The other day I was in a jewelry store shopping for Christmas presents and trying to refrain from buying myself more treasures. When I went to pay for my goodies I looked at the young lady helping me and she was covered with big, gaudy, blinging jewelry...my kind of girl!!! She had huge bracelet size earrings, both arms filled to the elbow with lots of bling, and a ring on almost every finger. I commented to her about ALL her bling and she said...Well I learned this from my Big Momma! Big Momma always told me...Go BIG or go Home!!! I laughed and told her that was great and what a life lesson that is to remember. Do it up large...dream big dreams...reach for the stars. Why not aim high, take risks, and live your passion! Use the good china, burn the decorative candles, say “I love you” while you can, learn more, laugh more, keep moving and groovin! You only have so many grains in your hourglass so live it up large, make the most of every day and by all means...Go BIG or go home because...
Like sands through the hourglass...So are the days of our lives!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Tricks and Treats of this October!



Well because of the tricks and treats of this past October, I let time go by without writing my monthly blog. So I’m playing “catch up” this month by writing two. I’ve come to understand the statement I heard one time...
“Time is like toilet paper...the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!” October was here and gone before I knew it.
What comes to mind when you think of October?
For me it’s cooler weather (well 80’s ARE cooler), warm fall colors, and little tricks and treats along the way. Well, this October, my husband and I had a huge “trick” come into our lives. A closed door...a detour of our path...a major curve in the road. It has stopped us in our tracks leaving us to wonder, “What now!” We’ve all had these times where we are headed in a certain direction sailing along when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the winds change and set our sails in a different direction. Well, one option is to worry, fret, pitch a fit and kick our feet in anger...which makes us feel better for the moment but gets us nowhere.
In trying times it requires us to “Flesh out our Faith!” To walk the talk! To trust and obey! We must be active in doing what we can to make our situation better but ultimately know and believe that all is well. It is at times like these that if we press into our Creator, He will walk through these scary times with us. He promises never to leave us or forsake us...so we CHOOSE to walk in the knowledge through the storm knowing there will be smooth sailing again one day.
Well in the middle of this “trick”, God chose to give us a “treat.” We were able to get away to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and witness the changing of the leaves in a grand way. The vibrant rich colors of the trees, the crispness of the air, and the majestic mountains helped to calm our spirits and to remind us there is someone bigger and wiser that is STILL in control. Amongst the awesomeness of nature, we were able to have some down time to reflect upon God’s beauty that surrounds us each and everyday. Reminding us there is always... ALWAYS...something to be thankful for and no matter what, God never stops loving us. Even in the darkest of times, especially at these times, we should walk in the attitude of gratitude. Focusing on the blessings in our life helps to pull us from the grasp of the uncertainty and fear that trials bring with them. All curves have built in rewards, even those that seem to only produce tragedy. Sometimes life doesn’t make sense, sometimes God doesn’t make sense, what does make sense is that the reward is yours for the taking. Learning to maneuver the sharp curve usually makes us stronger and wiser for the next curve that will surely come our way. So, the next time the wind suddenly changes the coarse that you are sailing on, choose to trust and believe that God is capable of using that strength on your behalf....sometimes in the most amazing ways!