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Lessons from the Soccer Field

Are we crazy??!  4 soccer games in one Saturday? Isn’t the reason we play recreational league & not challenge league so we DON’T have days like this??!  On the hottest day so far this year – predicted high temperature was 89 degrees.  To say I was dreading this day would be a understatement…due to weather problems and scheduling snafus, both Stephen & Emma were scheduled to play 2 soccer games on the same day.  Game times were 9am, 12pm, 1pm & 4pm.  Steve and I had been talking & planning on simply how to survive the day.  The running joke was we would take our pop-up camper, cots, generator & the rope lights we hang from the camper’s canopy. 🙂  On Friday, I cleaned the house & got the laundry caught up – well almost – and did the weekly grocery shopping figuring if I had all that done I wouldn’t sit at the games thinking about all that I had to do when I got home.  On Saturday morning, we packed a huge cooler with water, sandwiches (homemade pimiento cheese for the grown ups), water, slices of pound cake leftover from Friday night’s small group, fruit cups and team snack for the early game.  We also had bags of chips, crackers, sunscreen, bug spray, books, chairs and our EZ-Up tent.  We were ready!  I had checked the schedules and all our games were on the same field so we planned to make camp at mid-field and stay put all day.  And you know what, it was a great day!

How in the world could it have been such a great day?  Here’s how…

First, it forced us to relax.  When we looked at the game times, we decided that trying to go home between any of the games was silly.  So we planned to stay all day and were prepared.  We had plenty of food & water and shared with all the kids’ friends.  And knowing the house was in order and we had food in the fridge helped me sit back and just enjoy the day.  Steve sat in his chair, watched the games & Twittered.  If he’d been home, he would have been working on the truck or on the computer or in the yard, etc.  It was so good to see him kicked back.

Second, we got to hang out with friends – new & old.  We knew some of the parents on Emma’s team, but not all of them.  Having the only shelter on the sidelines made us pretty popular! We had some great conversations & even had the opportunity to invite one family to church!  My friend Andrea was there with us through Emma’s 2nd game.  Her son Austin is on Emma’s team so we’d been talking at practice about what a long day it would be, etc.  Her hubby Garrett was back & forth between bidding a job & his son’s football game but got to see most of  Austin’s games.  We had a great time just chatting while the kids were on the playground between games.  Andrea was there for Stephen’s 1st game and cheered him on with us.

And being together as a family was the best part.  We saw both kids play both their games which before this season never happened.  Steve was always coaching or I had work stuff, but not this season. This is what kids’ sports is supposed to be about…families being together, cheering for their teams & learning to win & lose with dignity.

So we left the field at 5:30pm sunburned and tired, but somehow refreshed, too.  We have 2 more Saturdays that will be like this.  I’m sure we won’t be so lucky to have all 4 games on the same field again, but that’s okay.  The only change we’re thinking about is bringing 2 EZ-Up tents so there’s more room for everyone.

Oh, and we won all 4 games!  Emma’s team won 2-0 in the 1st game, 1-0 in the 2nd. Considering they lost their season opener 8-0, we were very pleasantly surprised.   Stephen scored one goal in his 1st game which they won, 4-3.  His 2nd game was a nail biter for sure.  I told Steve before halftime I thought it would be a 1 goal game but didn’t know which team would score it…just glad it was us!

I’ve learned to look for lessons in life because I think God always wants to teach me something & this day was no different.  I learned that planning is key to keeping stress at a minimum on days like that.  Having plenty of snacks & drinks saved a lot of whining and a lot of money at the concession stand.  And I learned (again) that there’s nothing wrong with stopping everything in life to be with my family…in fact it’s what I’m supposed to do.

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April 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Miscellaneous Monday on Tuesday

My sister-in-law, Jennifer has a great blog that I love to read!  She does this cool Miscellaneous Monday post – she posts 3 random facts about herself and then asks her readers to do the same.  Instead of commenting on her blog, I decided to post my own 3 random facts here and link to her blog so you can get to know her, too. (I was busy yesterday, so I’m just getting to this today) 🙂

1.  I was named by my older sister – she turned 8 about 1 month before I was born.  I think she picked Catherine because my Mom had a good friend with that name.  Bonus:  I’ve never gone by any nickname of Catherine.  Not Cathy or Cate or whatever.  The only person who ever got away with calling me Cathy without being corrected, was Steve’s late Grandmother.

2.  I was a Brownie in 1st grade.  I loved it, especially the play we did at the end of the year.  We met after school one day a week at 1st Baptist Church.  We would walk there after school…wouldn’t happen today, but I digress.  When the year was over, the leader had just had a new baby and couldn’t lead the group anymore.  Most of the other Moms – mine included – had full time jobs and couldn’t lead the group either.  Now that I think about it, I wonder why no one thought to have the group meet in the evenings…

3.  I’ve never “officially” broken a bone.  I cracked my collar bone when I fell backward off a split-rail fence and landed on my back.  And I broke the little toe on my left foot about a year ago, but never went to the doctor.  What’s the point..it’s not like they’d do anything about it.

So, there are my 3 miscellaneous facts…check out Jennifer’s here…

http://myderbe.wordpress.com/

April 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Review of Twilight…

DISCLAIMER:  This is my opinion of the book Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.  If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine.   My purpose in writing this is to give my view of the book.  Feel free to disagree, just don’t be ugly about it.  🙂

In December, my 13 year old son  wanted to read the book Twilight.  We were going to be traveling over the holidays and the trip would be a good opportunity for him to read.  I checked the library and of course, it was checked out.  So I picked up a copy at WalMart.  He was thrilled.  But a few days later, he told me hated it and didn’t want to finish it.  I had heard it was a “girl’s book” so I wasn’t surprised.   Last week, I had finished a book and decided to give Twilight a try.  And I’m glad I did.  Here’s why:

First off, Stephenie Meyer is a great writer!  She drew me in from the first page.  Her descriptions are detailed enough to give a good mental imagine of the scene, but she doesn’t go on and on and on.  The story is engrossing, too.  The plot is pretty straight forward.  Bella Swan has moved to Forks, Washington to live with her father.  Her parents divorced years before and she’s been living in Phoenix with her Mom…until Mom got remarried to Phil.  Phil is a minor league baseball player and Mom wants to travel with him.  Bella volunteered to move to Forks so her Mom could be happy.  But Bella wasn’t happy – until she meets Edward Cullen.  Yep, the vampire.  The rest of the book is about Bella and Edward being in love, him being a vampire, and her not caring one bit.  She isn’t afraid of him and tells him that often.  Edward wants to stay away from Bella because his desire to “feed” on her is very strong, but he can’t help but be with her.  And she doesn’t care.  I’m not going to give any further details in case you decide to read it yourself.  (Which I encourage all parents to do before letting your kid read it.)

There are many themes in the book – denying yourself for the someone you love, accepting a fate you cannot control, etc.  But the main point of the book is Bella love Edward to the point she’s willing to die to be with him.  Or become like him so they can be together for eternity.  Her whole life becomes about him.  Her whole identity is wrapped up in him.  The small group of friends she made when she first came to town become an afterthought when Edward enters the picture.  She’s willing to leave everything behind for him – and that’s my problem with this book.

The last thing pre-teen and teenage girls need to want is to emulate Bella.  Girls who read this book are going to think that Edward & Bella are the ultimate romantic couple.  And they’ll see a 17 year old girl willing to give up her identity to be with a boy – a boy who is dangerous to put it mildly.  Is that really what we want our girls to think love is?  That it’s okay to put yourself in repeated danger to be with a boy?  That it’s okay to turn your back on your friends and family to be with a boy?  That it’s okay to defy and lie to your parents for a boy?  Not me, not my daughter.

I realize it’s a book, but it’s not “just a book” anymore.  There are more books in the series.  The movie Twilight was a huge hit in theaters and filming has begun on the next movie.  This is a phenomenon.  A phenomenon that girls everywhere are immersing themselves in.   My concern is these same girls could find themselves in dangerous situations with boys and think it’s okay.  “It’s not like he’s a vampire or anything…he just loses his temper every now and then…” See where I’m going with this.   If you think I’m overreacting, that’s fine with me.  The old saying Better safe than sorry comes to mind.

So, my feelings are pretty simple – great book, great read…but for adults, not preteen & teenage girls who are still figuring who they are and what love really is.

March 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where I Am…

I’ve been doing some thinking lately about my life – what matters, what doesn’t, who I care about and who truly cares about me, etc.  I have so many great things in my life, but I seem to get hung up on the stupid stuff that irritates me.  I always end up spending too much time thinking about people or things that just aren’t important.  So, in that spirit I’ve made the following decisions:

I WILL NO LONGER WORRY ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF ME – I am who I am and at almost 40 years old, I’m not going to change enough for some people.  I will continue to act in a way that is God honoring with everyone, but if someone is talking about me or complaining about me or just gossiping about me, oh well.  This is going to be hard, because I’ve always worried about what people think, but it’s self-destructive.  There will always be people who don’t like me, but I can’t control how they feel about me.  I can only control how I react to it.

I WILL BE AUTHENTIC – for too long, I’ve been so worried about what other people think of me, I put on a show.  I hid my feelings, disappointments and hurts, even from my closest friends.  One of those friends told me recently, that I’m more myself right now than I have been in years.   That hit me like a ton of bricks!  I had no idea I was being so fake…or more to the point, that people could tell I was faking it. Lesson learned!

I WILL NO LONGER READ BLOGS OF PEOPLE WHO USE THEM TO BASH – I had this whole paragraph about this topic and when I read it, I realized what I had written was no better than the people I was writing about.   So, I have deleted the blogs of people who use their platform to tear people down instead of building them up.  Enough said.

I WILL NO LONGER ARGUE WITH MY KIDS – I know, I know, I shouldn’t have been letting them argue with me to begin with.  But I have & I have to fix it.  This has been an ongoing thing for the last few weeks – if I tell the kids to do something and they argue or try to get me to do something different, I shut them down.  Sounds harsh, I know but it’s necessary.  I will always listen to them when they have a valid concern or complaint, but not when complaining is a knee-jerk reaction to everything I say.  I have literally started putting my hand up (Talk to the hand!) when they won’t listen.

I WILL NEVER PUT SOMETHING ELSE AHEAD OF MY FAMILY – In the past, I’ve gotten my priorities out of whack and put jobs, other people, volunteering, etc. in front of my family.  And my kids have suffered.  And my marriage has suffered.  In most cases, the work I was doing was good stuff but the value of the task doesn’t matter when my kids are hurt.  When they think that where I need to go is more important to me than they are.  I’m looking for a job right now and even in this economy, I’m being picky.  I’m looking for a job that will cause the least disruption for my family.  Maybe that’s an indulgent attitude, but my family has paid a very high price for my failure to put them first in past.  I will do everything possible to keep that from happening again.  I’m so thankful that God has shown me the error of my ways and is helping me to repair the damage.

EXCEPT FOR MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD – I’ve found that it’s easy to get too busy to spend time with God.  I’m reading this great book and it boils it all down to relationships.  It’s not about going to church, going to Bible Study or any other program…it’s about my one on one relationship with God.  And when that comes first, everything else will line up accordingly.  Life won’t be perfect, but I will be sheltered during the storms.

So, that’s where I am.  Where are you?  I’d love to hear your comments.

February 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

23 Years Ago…

23 years ago I was 16 years old and a junior in high school.  And I found myself hanging around with this guy…this guy I had known since elementary school, who I went to church and youth group with, who I sang with in the youth choir.  It seemed that everywhere I went at school, there he was.  Before school, during lunch, even when I was roaming the halls he showed up.  At church, the youth group always sat together during the service and for the last few weeks, we usually found ourselves sitting together…

23 years ago today, I became his girlfriend.  Together we went to 3 proms, countless movies, ballgames & dinners.  I watched him sing in the school choir, march in the band (he was a drummer then, too) and play soccer.  He watched me graduate and a year later, I watched him.  I said goodbye to him in front of his apartment building in Nashville, TN and rode 8 hours home with his parents.  I wrote him letters and talked to him on the phone late at night (when the rates were down) for the long year he was in school.  And after watching him graduate again, this time from Nasville Auto Diesel College, I rode away from that same apartment building except this time, he was driving us home.  Less than a year later, I helped him move again.  This time, I helped him move into an apartment that in less than 6 months would be our first home together.

Our journey hasn’t always been smooth – no one’s is.  There were harsh words and misunderstandings and arguments.  There was even a short break up in there, but we never left each other’s hearts.  The separations were hard and sometimes we wondered why we bothered to stay together being so far away.  But for me the bottom line was I couldn’t imagine my life without him.  For some people the decision to leave their hometown and all their family to get married might have been hard.  But for me, it was simple.  I would go where he went – and I’ve never regretted it.

23 years is a long time…but it seems like it was only yesterday that I was standing in the hall of good old Bluefield High School, waiting for him to get to school.  I can see him walking in the doors in front of the audiotorium, feeling myself start to smile because he was smiling at me.  He’s walking toward me and leaning down to kiss me…

February 20, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Here’s What I Do…

It’s been a hard day…a day when I’ve once again been faced with the reality of betrayal and disappointment.  Here’s what I do when that happens..

Psalm 27

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?
2 When evil people come to devour me,
when my enemies and foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
3 Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident.

4 The one thing I ask of the Lord
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord’s perfections
and meditating in his Temple.
5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
6 Then I will hold my head high
above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music.

7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
Be merciful and answer me!
8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
9 Do not turn your back on me.
Do not reject your servant in anger.
You have always been my helper.
Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,
O God of my salvation!
10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord will hold me close.

11 Teach me how to live, O Lord.
Lead me along the right path,
for my enemies are waiting for me.
12 Do not let me fall into their hands.
For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;
with every breath they threaten me with violence.
13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.

14 Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

January 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Walking the Walk

Last night at dinner, my 8 year old daughter asked me if it was illegal for a black person to marry a white person.   It seems that one of the children in her school told her it was illegal.  (Are you kidding me!  I know I live in the south, but for crying out loud this just blew me away.) She seemed very puzzled and a upset about this.   Probably because 3  families we love are interracial and I think she was worried they were going to get in trouble.  Steve and I assured her that it is perfectly legal and no one was going to go to jail.  We also took the opportunity to remind her that God created ALL people in HIS image and it was WRONG to not like someone because of their skin color or where they are from.  She’d heard that before, but it seemed a good time to remind her.

I’m really glad she asked us about this – otherwise she might have gone around thinking it was true and told other people, too.  As a parent it made me happy that she comes to me with her questions.  And it reminded me that she’s always listening and watching what I do…so I better be walking the walk if I’m talking the talk.  She’s never heard me say anything even close to a racial slur.  I abhor racism and stress to my kids that they need to get to know someone before deciding to be there friend.  But, what about my faith walk?  When times get tough, do I slip back into old habits or show my faith in God?  I better, because the older she gets, the more she’s noticing.

December 16, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hot Spots

Several years ago, in an attempt to get my house in order, I discovered The Fly Lady. If you haven’t heard of her, she has a web site that helps people who live in CHAOS, Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Pretty much described – and most days still describes – me. I tried, I really did, but if I’m home during the day, I’m NOT wearing shoes that lace up all day. Sorry, but I would wear flip flops in December if I could. (And I DID this week because temps were in the 60’s!) She has some really good tips and ideas. One that has stuck with me is identifying Hot Spots in your house. Hot Spots are defined as “an area, that when left unattended will gradually take over”. I think everyone has those – that one spot in your house that gets piled up in the blink of an eye. I have 2 – the dining room table and a small portion of kitchen counter. I bet if you look around your house, you can find at least one. At least once or twice a day I find myself going through all the junk that piles up.

The concept of household Hot Spots started me thinking – are there Hot Spots in my life? Areas of my life, when ignored, can take over? Areas that would embarrass me if I anyone saw them? Well, yes. And Hot Spots in my life can be easier to hide.   The junk mail piling up is easily seen by anyone who comes in the door, but what about the junk piling up in my brain? The things that can be hidden from everyone – except God. He knows me inside and out. He knows my thoughts, my words and my actions – and the motives behind those actions. Did I really mean what I just said or did I say it because I thought it would make me look good? Did I offer to pick up groceries for a friend because I truly wanted to help or because I thought I should?

One of hardest Hot Spots to me overcome are my thoughts. I mean, they’re just thoughts! Thoughts can’t hurt anyone, right? Wrong – everything you do or say starts with a thought. The good stuff and the bad stuff. I have my share of mean, bitter, insulting, jealous and/or dishonorable thoughts every single day. Lately, I’ve had more time to analyze those thoughts and realize how destructive the can be…destructive to me and others. For example, spending too much time dwelling on how angry I am about something only produces more anger – it feeds the fire. Don’t misunderstand me, if I’ve been hurt by someone, it’s okay to be upset or angry in the moment. But once the moment has passed, my focus needs to be on forgiveness and reconciliation. The bitterness I feel eats away at me, not the other person. That person may not know that I’m upset, or they know and don’t care or they know but feel they were doing the right thing and I’m being unreasonable to be mad about it. Regardless, I have to choose to get over it for me, not for them. Bitter thoughts and hostility get between me & God and put distance between us. I don’t want there to be any distance between us – especially when I’m hurting. That’s when I need Him the most. But if I’m holding on to my “righteous indignation” tighter than I’m holding on to Him, I lose. Sitting around thinking about how I have been treated unfairly or daydreaming scenarios where “they get what’s coming to them” is not only futile, it’s dangerous. Futile & dangerous because I’m attempting to take control of the situation from God. Tried it and trust me, it doesn’t work.  

Getting control of how I think has not only brought me closer to God, but it’s changed my behavior toward others. This past week, Steve and I were both sick. It’s the same thing most everyone has – cough, congestion, feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus. On Tuesday morning when the alarm went off, I seriously considered asking Steve to get the kids to school – all I wanted to do was sleep. But I knew he didn’t feel any better than I did so I got up and got the kids going. As it turned out, Steve spent the whole day in bed. At first, I was pretty resentful. Not out loud of course, that would be really mean. But I couldn’t help but think that I would like to be in bed having someone else take care of me. When do I get a sick day!  🙂  I sat down and prayed for Steve and then God whispered in my ear, Steve can’t help being sick. Isn’t it nice to be able to be here to make him take his meds and be sure he’s okay? And Steve is worried about not working today, Catherine. He knows if he’s not working, there’s no money coming in. So how sick must he be to stay home? That got my attention and changed my attitude. The point? If I had been stewing about how “unfair” it was, I wouldn’t have heard God.  

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

December 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Prayer for Today (and everyday)

Lord, You have blessed me beyond reason.  In spite of – or maybe because of – all the recent chaos in my life, I see Your hand in my life more than ever.  I truly am thankful for the time You have given me to just think and be and live.  Forgive me for using the excuse of being too busy to pray, call my friends, love on my kids – I now know what You value and what You want me to value.

Thank You for my husband – a Godly, loving man who loves me and is a part of me.  Thank You that he feels my pain and suffers with me and that he shares my joys and celebrates with me.

Thank You for my children – two precious gift that I asked for and too often take for granted.  I love them more than I ever imagined loving.  Help me to be the mother You want me to be and the mother they need me to be.

Thank You for my friends – my true friends.  Friends who let me cry on their shoulder; friends who let me vent my frustrations and don’t judge me for what I say in the heat of the moment;  friends who pick up my kids and love on my kids and teach my kids with the way they live their lives.

Thank You for all my family – parents, siblings, siblings-in-law, cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews…help me to honor them and not forget them just because I don’t see them every day.

And thank You for the trials you have sent my way.  I find myself at a place where I can see the value of those trials, the opportunity to learn and grow from the adversity.  I confess that I’ve been hardheaded and it was hard to get my attention – there’s the busyness rearing it’s ugly head again – but You have it now.  You have forever, because I don’t want to live another moment without You guiding my thoughts, words and deeds.

Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow.  Lead me by Your truth and teach me, for You are the God who saves me.  All day long I put my hope in You. (Psalm 25:4-5)

December 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on My Prayer for Today (and everyday)

I’m Back…

So, my husband threatened to quit following my blog if I didn’t post something soon.  Gotta love all that support! 🙂

The truth is life has changed unbelievably since my last post.  I thought the surprises were behind me, but there were a couple of more I really didn’t see coming.  I’ve spent the last 5 weeks adjusting to things and trying to figure out what my next steps are.   I’m so glad I’ve had time to reflect on things and pray about what God wants me to do.  Still don’t know yet, but I KNOW there is a plan and I KNOW it will be revealed in HIS time.  So, despite my whole life being turned upside down, I’m at peace because I know Him.

November 17, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments