From the Inside Out

buffet

“Two coats of paint and that pink mess is still showing through!”

I was talking to myself in a VERY disgusted tone of voice. I was working on a “refinishing” project that I had GREAT plans for.

Does that ever happen to you?

We usually stoop to this behavior when we are frustrated that:

  • our work is not progressing as we planned
  • we are forced to repeat a task we already thought was finished
  • we have to repeat instructions ONE MORE TIME! (moms? teachers?)
  • things are not turning out as we planned

Pretty much everyday occurrences, yet we allow frustration to take over.

It started like this….

I bought an old buffet at a yard sale. It was in rough condition  – which made it affordable for me. It had a veneer surface, which I knew would be a challenge to repair, but the claw feet were so impressive. So, I got out the trusty stripper.

ok… VARNISH STRIPPER, old rags, and set to work. I realized very soon that this piece, because of its age, had old varnish that was not responding to my efforts.

I was undeterred. I kept at it. I had to justify this purchase as a hidden treasure – NO MATTER WHAT!

I finally removed all the old varnish that I could and it looked…well….terrible. Parts of the veneer were gone or loose, so I pulled them off. Now I REALLY had a mess.

So I did the next best thing. If refinishing fails, paint the wood.

I painted the wood, except for the top piece, because that wood was a solid piece of beautiful oak.

But the parts I painted antique white looked pink!

I painted on another coat – it still looked pink!

I let it dry…still pink.

Phil noticed my frustration and asked, “Why did you paint it?”

NOT what I needed to hear at this point….

But he did offer some good advice. He said I should get some KILZ paint which is made to cover mistakes. This project was turning out to be a BIG mistake, so I did as he suggested.

It worked.

After painting, I sanded some of the edges to give the piece an aged, distressed look. (It was aged after all and had caused me distress!)

Then I added some tiles I had purchased at a yard sale 3 years earlier, just because I liked the way they looked. They fit perfectly where I had pulled off some of the veneer.

tile backsplash

I spray painted the handles to look like hammered pewter and I was done.

handles

I actually liked the finished results. The white paint ended up fitting in with the white cupboards in our kitchen so much better than a totally wood piece would have done.

We are studying the book of Colossians and the following verses made me recall my “refinishing” project.

Colossians 3:8-10 (NLT)

8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.

Just as I had to strip off the old varnish, God wants me to strip away my old sinful nature.

But that is not all – “put on the NEW nature.” I had to put on three coats of white paint to avoid having the old varnish show through as a pink tint.

As a Christian, I must get rid of the old nature and allow God’s Holy Spirit to renew me from the inside out. Then my new nature will be what shines through so others see Jesus as I am renewed to become more like Him.

May Jesus renew each of us from the inside out!

 

 

Game Plan for Parents

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“No college scholarships will be passed out today”

These wise words from someone who knows what he is talking about. My daughter refered me to this post by Todd Raleigh. He is a former professional baseball player, former baseball coach at University of Tennessee and Western Carolina University, as well as the father of 4, all who are involved in sports. I called his wife Stephanie this week and received permission to share his post because I think ALL parents need to read this.

Then they need to follow the wisdom shared…

for the sake of their kids.

Grandparents need to pay heed as well.

“This letter is to all Jackson County baseball parents, Little League, Travel Ball, Sandlot, High School, Middle School etc…

I feel qualified to say what I’m about to say. I have coached over 100 players professionally and around 20 Major Leaguers. Won a lot of games. Conference championships and NCAA regional etc…

Not only the above but I’m also a parent that has gone through from Tball to College. Don’t think anyone else in Jackson County has my experience in these two areas combined.

Having a business on main street there is never a day that goes by that at least one person comes in to talk about their kid and baseball. That includes Haywood, Macon, Buncombe and the western counties.

Here is my message. Surround yourself with good people. Winning and losing isn’t important. It is life lessons and development. Your job as a parent is to get them to the game on time. Enjoy the game and support them. Your job isn’t to coach from the stands, second guess the coach and quit every time you don’t like what is going on.

Safe to say that Cal is a decent player. How many travel ball teams did he play on growing up?? How about one! He didn’t always bat 3rd, he played the outfield, he sat the bench etc.. When it didn’t go our way we didn’t pick up our bat and go home or call another travel ball coach and try to switch teams. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Cal’s baseball coaches didn’t have a great amount of baseball experience but they were good men. They helped shape Cal.

I did 2 tv interviews today in Tallahassee on 2 subjects. First was what mainly about how great of a kid Cal was and how the people in Tallahassee have adopted him and adore him. I was very proud and surprised to hear that. The 2nd was how he came to FSU so prepared as a Freshman to play not just physically but  mentally. He is the starting catcher and batting 3rd on one of the best teams in the country. They asked me point blank why he was so prepared. I told them this. When he joined a team that was his team. At the end of each game he was asked if he played as hard as he could. Performance was never brought up. He was told the coach was always right no matter what. He was told he would be the first one on the field every inning. He was told he was to be the first one out of the dugout to congratulate his teammate. He was told he would hustle regardless of the score for the entire game. He was told he would shut his mouth and respect his opponent and the game itself. He was told when the game started he was on his on. Don’t look to me for help and he was made to carry his bag to and from the game.

Now this wasn’t easy. We had plenty of bumps along the way. He didn’t run every ball out when he was 9. He was far from perfect on any of that. Still is a work in progress.

Me and his mom stayed consistent with our approach. Stay with good people and play the game the right way. When he got older  we had travel teams from California to Texas wanting him. He stayed with his group. Now every parent has to do what is best for their kid but teaching your kid to quit every time it doesn’t go right isn’t teaching him anything. Bad mouthing the coaches isn’t giving him life lessons that will serve him down the road. Worried about batting averages or winning games isn’t important. Wanting to win and preparing to win is important. Getting your kid a one hour hitting lesson once a week isn’t going to separate him from the others. Character and attitude will!

A parent can’t control the starting line up, the position they play, can’t control how many hits their kids get, can’t control the weather. They can control their kids state of mind, they can control their kids attitude, they can control their kids effort and hustle. They can control their level of respect they show their coaches. They can control getting them to bed the night before. They can control making them practice during the week. They can control not yelling at them in a middle of a game.

Let’s take all our energy as parents and focus on what we can control (your kid) and not what we can’t control. Let’s be part of the solution not part of the problem.

Baseball is a great game. Treat it good it will treat you good in return.”

I have had the privledge of knowing the Raleighs two oldest children. They are both great examples of what their dad wrote.

Proverbs 19:20 says

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
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I Don’t Know

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Have you ever been irritated by a person who “knows it all”? Or more precisely, someone who ACTS like they know it all?

(truth be told, NO ONE knows it all)

This is very common with parenting advice…

  • “Well, when I was potty training….”
  • “My child never…”
  • “My child always…”

BEWARE OF THOSE WHO USE “ALWAYS” and “NEVER”!

It is rare for life to be so absolute, isn’t it?

These statements sometimes come from a parent of an only child – a  compliant only child. Where is the control group? Where are the variables of gender and birth order?

The reality of parenting is that we don’t have all the answers.

I heard a preacher say recently “it isn’t about having all the answers… it is about knowing who to go to for the answers.”

I remember Elizabeth Elliot challenging young women at a conference in 1990 – “I don’t know what you are facing in your life today…but I know the One who does.”

Jesus

Prayer is an amazing practice that opens our hearts and minds to receive God’s wisdom. Does this mean that when I pray I will receive an audible response telling me what to do?

rarely….

Yet I do believe that God will respond to our requests for wisdom. I have experienced this myself many times. God promises to do so in His Word.

James 1:5 (ESV)

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

This promise applies to us as parents. James goes on to say in this same letter –

James 3:17 (ESV)

17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

How encouraging!

This is not the kind of wisdom that makes one feel dumb, ignorant, or inexperienced. It is …

  • pure
  • gentle
  • open to reason
  • full of mercy
  • impartial
  • sincere

That list embodies JUST the kind of wisdom I need when I don’t know the answer.

This wisdom may come from a thought given by the Holy Spirit. It may come from a friend who is unaware you even have a concern. The wisdom may be from something you read or hear on the radio. It may be in a song. God will use various means to answer our prayers for wisdom. His wisdom.

It is the kind of wisdom young mothers should seek.

It is the kind of wisdom grandmothers should share.

Gentle, not judgemental.

Open to reason, not hard and fast.

Full of mercy…knowing that God has shown mercy to me more times than I can count.

May we seek Jesus so we can receive His wisdom.

I may not know – but I know the One who does.

 

 

It’s Only a Game

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…or is it?

While watching the NCAA tournament last evening, I was on a roller coaster of emotions along with the rest of the fans watching.

If you were not on that roller coaster, you either did not care about the results of the game or were not a fan of either team.

At the end, one team is elated with victory…

the other is crushed with defeat.

That is just the way it is. One team wins. One team loses. If there was no disappointment in defeat, then the victory would not be as sweet because it just really wouldn’t matter who won.

It is only a game, after all.

Or is it?

The outcome does matter a WHOLE LOT to the

  • team
  • coaches
  • parents
  • family members
  •  school
  • real fans
  • alumni

Watching the seniors on the losing team is heartbreaking. I couldn’t help but feel for the family members and loved ones who care about those young men. This was the NCAA tournament after all.

It is the big time – a once-in-a-life-time experience.

I remember being in Columbus, Ohio in 2002 for the final four of the NCAA Division III Women’s soccer tournament. Our daughter, Abigail was playing for Wheaton College and their team was facing Amherst College for the semi-final game. The score was tied at 1-1 when time ran out. After 2 scoreless over time periods, the game went to penalty kicks.

What an awful way to end a tournament game, a season, and for the seniors, their career!!

Wheaton lost in penalty kicks.

I have abhorred penalty kicks ever since!

The team was heartbroken. They had played an amazing season to get to that point – the final four – but that was no consolation at that moment.

Neither was the fact that it was only a game.

It was not brain surgery, no lives were lost, but it was NOT the outcome that the team had worked so hard for all season. Only time and distance would assuage their pain.

Do our children and grandchildren feel any less pain when they lose their hard-fought athletic contests?

As adults we realize there is a vast difference between a youth league tournament and the NCAA tournament. Yet to a child, their game is a big as it gets.

How can we help children keep their games in perspective and also help them handle the disappointment of defeat?

The following are some suggestions that I have gleaned from 35 years of watching children and now grandchildren participate in athletic events –

  • remember it is a game, it should be fun
  • do not try to relive your athletic past (or lack thereof ) through your child
  • encourage them with positive comments
  • cheer for their teammates as well as your child
  • when your child loses,  and it WILL happen, let them grieve appropriately
  • moderate tears are appropriate, wailing not so much

Try to avoid the following if at all possible –

  • yelling instructions to your child while a game is in progress (if they do hear you, what you yell may be different than the coach’s instructions)
  • yelling at the coach
  • yelling at your child’s team members
  • yelling at the officials
  • ok, avoid ALL yelling
  • criticizing the coach, especially in front of your child
  • demanding more playing time or a certain position for your child
  • make excuses or blame others for the lack of ability your child has

Children will take their cues from the adults in their lives, especially their parents, on how to respond in situations following a game. If we act with positive sportsmanship and grace following defeats or victories, our children will learn to do the same.

Colossians 3:23-25 E(ESV)

23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Whatever our children are doing, whether it is helping at home, playing with siblings, playing with friends, learning at school, whatever they do,

if it is only playing a game,

we can help them understand that they honor and serve God by doing their best…

win or lose.