If you’re like me, there are certain phrases you heard from your parents all of the time when you were growing up…things like:
“Eat all of your vegetables.”
“There are starving people in China.”
“Life isn’t fair.”
“Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
“Shut the door…were you raised in a barn?”
“This is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you.”
“As long as you live under my roof, you’ll live by my rules.”
And the ever popular “Because I said so.”
The phrase I heard as a kid that stuck in my head more than any other was my dad’s mantra, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I wonder if that’s why – as the only boy among five sisters – I was such a quiet kid?
As Christmas draws near, I want to share one of the phrases that has become an integral part of our family conversations. It’s such a common phrase all I need to do is start it and wait as my kids easily finish it.
“It’s not about the presents; it’s about the presence.”
One thing I’ve always known about myself is that I like to make people proud and I like to do my best. Growing up, I couldn’t wait to bring home a really hard test that yielded a big red “A” at the top. Whether it was school or sports, I never wanted to settle for being mediocre.
My parents still laugh when we talk about just how horrible I was when I first took up CYC basketball in the 3rd grade. My only point that season was an extremely lucky free throw and the next season didn’t prove to be much better. My teammates would actually take the ball out of my hands themselves to keep me from committing a turnover. I was at least a half-foot shorter than everyone else and I was terrible.
I love sports. That fact is pretty obvious if you read any of my past blogs. I love competition. I love when athletes give everything they’ve got out on the field. I love that there is a winner. I love that sports can bring out the best in people. I hate that sports can bring out the worst in people.
On Saturday some of the biggest college football games of the season were played. Most memorably, though, was the upset Auburn dished up to number 1 ranked rival Alabama in the final second of the Iron Bowl when Auburn’s Chris Davis returned a fifty-seven yard Alabama field goal attempt for a 100+ yard touchdown.
The Alabama loss ended the Crimson Tide’s chance for their third straight national championship.
Admittedly I didn’t watch the entire ‘Bama-Auburn game very closely, I was cooking in between snaps just waiting for the Mizzou vs. Texas A&M matchup. After the unreal win by Auburn my husband and I watched a recap of the game on ESPN and I immediately felt awful for Alabama kicker Cade Foster, but not as bad as I felt for him on Sunday afternoon, the day following the loss.
Six years ago I went on a silent retreat at the White House Retreat Center in Oakville, Missouri that changed my life. It only took me 47 years, but I finally listened to God to see what He wanted me to do.
In the process, I was given one of the greatest gifts I have ever received – the gift of gratitude. From that moment it became clear to me that I needed to put God first in my life, in all things. This is when I decided that I really want to get to Heaven!
When I was in eighth grade I had an AAU basketball coach who told my parents and me that, while I was a really good shooter and had a big heart, I just wasn’t built to play at the next level. I was small.
Now, I am an extremely competitive person so the words of this well-respected coach fueled me. The next year, as a freshman in high school, I made the varsity basketball team. A few years later I signed my letter of intent to play college basketball.
“Professional athletes are overpaid.”
“Professional athletes aren’t appropriate role models for our youth.”
“Professional athletes EXPECT prima donna treatment.”
The list of phrases about the shortcomings of professional athletes could go on for a while. How often do you watch the news and see a story about a football, basketball or baseball player behaving poorly either on or off the field? How often do you hear about a baseball player demanding millions more for an extension on his contract after he’s already making seven or eight million a year?
I’m not beautiful. While looking in the mirror it’s super easy to note that I’m quite a few too many L-Bs for my short 5 foot 4 frame and my double chin makes a grand appearance in every photo. The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing published a study that showed that “more than 80 percent of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being fat”and even some people on the internet say they would rather take 10 years off of their life than be fat. When all of that is taken into account you can surmise that the way I look is practically every woman’s nightmare. I’m not beautiful.
With Halloween just passing, I was thinking how much I looked forward to Halloween as a kid. I did my major “Halloweening” in the late 1960’s, early 1970’s. When we were small kids, our parents made elaborate home-made costumes and we traveled in large packs of kids and parents from neighborhood to neighborhood. The “tricks” we learned were also fairly sophisticated, not just a simple joke, but we learned songs and whole routines.
As we got older, we ditched the parents (or was it the other way around). Most of the time we all dressed as “bums” or “hobos” (which wasn’t too far of a stretch of how we really dressed). Our treat or tricking territory expanded immensely. We would start right when it got dark and didn’t end until around 10:00 p.m. We would race to any house that still had their front porch light on. (Remember the commercial – “It’s 10:00 o’clock, do you know where your children are?)