God and the SEC

I was at church on Sunday, and during the praise and worship portion, was so overcome with joy that I held up both arms in that classic pose of YES! As soon as I did it, I flashed back to the previous night.

See, there was this football game involving Georgia and Auburn where things got a little crazy. Now I’m a VOLS fan, through and through, and normally I wouldn’t even turn on the Georgia game, much less cheer for them. Since my husband is a UGA grad, and my daughter was born on Georgia soil, I decided to let the game run, on mute, in the background. It wasn’t that exciting of a game anyway – when the 3rd quarter ended, Georgia trailed 17 to 34. But then came the 4th quarter and Georgia scored a massive 21 points. With only a little over a minute left to play, they led by 5 points! Even I got excited and joined my family in cheering.

Auburn got the ball and went nowhere, fast. Now with only 30 seconds left, they were 4th and 18 and the goal line was a mile away. The game was over, Georgia was about to pull off one of the greatest comebacks in history.

Then this happened:


Anyway, back to church. As I was sitting there listening, I started thinking about God, and the SEC, and Georgia and basically how there are a lot of biblical lessons in that game. For Auburn fans:

  • Miracles still happen. Sure the clock is running out and you’re on the brink of defeat, and if God doesn’t come through in a big way, you are done, but He does! When you least expect it, and probably not at all HOW you expect it, you win!
  • Being faithful pays off. Who knows if Ricardo Louis REALLY believed that Auburn would win, but he still ran down field as fast as he could go, and was in the right place, ready for the miracle. What if he’d seen those two Georgia players and had just given up?
  • God is merciful and loving even if you don’t deserve it or do bad things, like charge $38,000 dollars a year for tuition.

Yeah, that’s great for AUBURN, but what about Georgia fans? What’s the big biblical lesson in crushing defeat? I mean, besides that God loves everyone apparently, even people from Alabama? For Georgia fans:

  • Sometimes, your assistance is not required. Did you see that pass? It was SHORT. The game was over, but as the two Georgia players went for the ball, they actually knocked it into the enemy’s hands! It hurts every time I look at it.
  • You have an enemy that is walking around like a lion, (or tiger, as the case may be) looking to devour you, so be on guard at all times, like maybe EARLIER in the game instead of waiting until the last minute.
  • Be disciplined. Georgia might not have been in this position if they’d gotten fewer penalties. Stop messing around and get serious about your game.

The good news is that while your enemy rejoices, the game is not over! Your God is the quarterback, the wide receiver, the corner back – the Holy Trinity and one day EVERYONE,  including the refs with their stupid, yellow flags, will bow down! The play clock has no end and He had as many downs as He NEEDS. If that’s not worthy of face-paint, I don’t know what is!

When it comes to SEC football, I’m not stranger to heartbreak. Who can forget Tennessee’s almost touchdown in overtime which would have meant a win over *Georgia? But as it says in Job 13:15 – Though He slay me, still I will hope in Him.

Christians, like SEC fans, know that while life with GOD is not always easy, the alternative is unthinkable. No way we’re going to hell. Or the Big 10, as the case may be.

*See comments.

Real Selfies

I know that patience has a lot of fans, but for me, when it comes to the fruit of the spirit you can’t beat self-control. I use it almost every morning when I read political blogs, then get on Facebook and read how stupid all of my friends are. But do I TELL them? No, cause I got control.

Besides, what good would it do?

The problem with self-control is that no one ever recognizes you’re using it. Sure you’ll hear people say, “You have so much patience!”, or “What a kind thing you just did!” but no one EVER says, “Thanks for not pointing out what a donkey’s behind I am!”

But just when I think that maybe I should give up on the whole Self-Control thing, I meet someone who already has, and oh, boy.

Sunday, my tennis team played in the semi-finals. I wasn’t in the line-up (what!!) but I decided to go and cheer them on. Apparently, just before I got there, the other team Captain cussed out our team Captain and we had to threaten to call the police to get her to shut-up. I. Miss. Everything.

Maybe she had a good reason? Seems that she wanted us to play three matches at once, instead of two, and when our captain wouldn’t start early, she threw a fit. One of my teammates asked her to move so they could see the tennis match that was going on behind her, and the crazy woman jumped on the bleachers and yelled that she would stand anywhere she dang well wanted! She cussed and jumped and generally acted like a PURE IDIOT. Another team member asked her to stop using crude language in front of the kids that were there and she said, “You want crude? I’ll show you crude!” then she proceeded to SHIMMY her belly and boobs at our team. And she had a lot of both to shimmy.

I’m going to be honest. If I found a time-machine and could only make one trip to the past and it was between stopping a presidential assassination and getting to the match twenty minutes earlier with a recording device, I’m not sure which one I’d choose.

28 A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out. Proverbs 25:28

Also, like a PURE IDIOT.

But that’s just my opinion, I’m not putting it on Facebook or anything.

The Power of a Praying Tennis Player

Long-time readers of this blog, (hi, Mom!) know that I play tennis on the weekends with my friend Sharon. Previous posts have mentioned how we pray throughout the match. We do this because:

A) We’re Godly women who talk to Jesus all day long, and/or

B) We are much too busy to actually practice.

My theory is this – if both teams are roughly equal in fitness and skill, but ONE of the teams is praying constantly for help, then that just might make up the difference. Usually I pray for help on points, that my serve will go in, etc. but I’m not above pointing out how our opponents are cussing, seemingly hungover, or are looking really cute in their expensive Nike outfits which proves they are obviously vain and hate the poor.

Last year it didn’t work so well. In fact, we only won ONE match and when our team still somehow made the playoffs, it came down to us and we LOST. I’m not sure why, but for some reason they invited us back and it’s been a much better year. Like, UNDEFEATED, better. So when we made the playoffs again, I was feeling confident.

Side note: Here’s how playoffs work. Each team has five doubles partnerships, ranked from 1 (the best) to 5 (the worst) and the team that wins 3 of the 5 matches wins. It can be the 1s, 2s and 3s or any combination. When I got to the match on Sunday, our 1s were losing, and they were followed quickly by the 2s. Okay, not a big deal. Sure I now HAD to win, but as I mentioned, we were undefeated and what are the chances that it would come down to me and Sharon again?

Pretty good, as it turns out. Our 3s won in a 3rd set tiebreaker, and our 5s won easily in 2 sets. Sharon and I? Well, we were up 3 – 0 in the first set, when somehow the other team took over and won it 6-4. Gulp. Not that I was REALLY concerned. I’d been praying, “3s, 4s, and 5s, Lord” over and over from the moment I stepped on the court. Sharon was praying hard as well. At one point she hit a great shot and when I complimented her, she said “It was Jesus.” Then later when I hit a good shot, she said “I know THAT was Jesus.” She doesn’t just know her Savior’s voice, she knows His backhand!

But as I watched our 3s walk off their court as winners, and I saw that our 5s were winning easily, I realized that yes, once again it would come down to us, and I started worry. Before I knew it, we were down in the 2nd set, 5-2! Since we’d lost the first set, we were only one game away from losing the whole thing! What the what? Couldn’t Jesus hear us praying? Then it hit me. See, we weren’t playing in a subdivision, or at the local park, we were playing at a church. On the crossover, I asked, “So, do you just play out of here, or do you actually go to this church? You probably just play here, right?” But, no. THEY ACTUALLY WENT TO THE CHURCH! Somehow I hadn’t planned for this contingency! Now what? Well, if you’re anything like me, you start to whine. My prayers went from “3s, 4s, and 5s, Lord” to “Why do you have to keep HUMBLING me over and over like this?”

Oh ye of little faith and the unreliable backhand.

Somehow my partner won her serve and the score was 5-3. Our opponents served for the match and suddenly we were at match point. Which Sharon and I won. Then they had match point again. Which Sharon and I won. Then we won the game. Then the next one. And the next one. And the NEXT. From down 5-2 and two match points to winning the 2nd set 7-5!

Since we split sets, our opponents took a break to visit the restrooms, grab a banana, and stall as long as possible to halt our momentum. Sharon and I weren’t having any of it. We stayed out on the court, hitting the ball to keep warm and basically acting like we were in the finals of the US Open. Finally, our opponents came back and we played the 3rd set.

Which Sharon and I WON, 6-2. We WON.

We might have gotten a little excited.

If you replaced the two Olympic athletes with a pair of  pudgy, middle-aged women, it would look exactly the same.

Our team went wild. We, the pair that lost it for everyone last year, came through in dramatic fashion and we go on next week to continue the fight.

On the way to the beach last week, my friend Keekle played a bit of a Louie Giglio podcast called The Comeback. He was talking about Lazarus, who as you know, DIED. To most people that’d be a real setback,  but as the story shows, you never know what the Lord will do.  So next time you find yourself in a desperate situation, remember Lazarus, or my tennis story cause either one would probably work.

Now you know why He has to humble me over and over.

Faith-based Posts

You may have noticed this already, but I don’t write deep, faith-based posts very often. Okay, practically never. But it’s not because I CAN’T, it’s because it seems so fake when I do it. But faith-based blogs are very popular, and there seems to be a formula for doing it, so maybe I should give it a shot.

Step 1: Find a innoculous story, make it seems bigger and more important. Also, use bold text.

A few years ago, I found a lovely vase at a yard sale. It was hidden among the odds and ends, easy to overlook, but something about it called to me. I picked it up, taken with its patina. Turning it over, I was happy to find that it was marked, Hull. Sometimes the most beautiful things are found in the most unusual places.

Unsure what to do with it, I finally put it in my bathroom and filled it with seashells – a man made piece of pottery, filled with God-made shells. A few years ago, my father was visiting. He got up in the middle of the night and made his way to the bathroom. A few minutes later, I heard a terrible sound, like glass breaking. I went to the door and met my father wearing a sheepish look* on his face. He’d knocked the vase to the floor and the tile was littered with hundreds of small shells. I assured him it was fine. Every fall does not result in damage.

A few weeks ago, my daughter was in the bathroom, and once again I heard the sound of hundreds of small shells hitting the tile. When I entered the bathroom, she looked at me with wide eyes. The vase lay in the floor, a large piece broken and beside it. I assured her it was fine. Broken things can often be healed. We picked up the pieces together** and I put the piece back in the vase. The small crack was barely noticeable.

Last week, my mother was in town. Once again, I heard the sound of a hundred shells hitting the tile. I opened the door to find my mother standing over the pieces. I assured her it was fine. The damage we think we’ve caused, is often the result of previous brokenness. I sent her on her way, then bent to pick up the shells once more.*** As I put the piece back in the vase, and moved it to the counter, it occurred to me that it was a lot like life.

Tie it all together in a grand way:

Often we’re like that vase. Our messy lives intersect with others and we’re knocked to the floor. We may look the same, but there are tiny cracks, cracks that can be healed with time, or made worse, depending on who we come into contact with. Sometimes, the only way to be healed is to move.

Finally, for the big finale, use a soft-focus photograph to illustrate your point, and hammer it home.

Even in our brokenness, we hold God’s handiwork.

I hope you’ve been blessed by this post. And the fact that I don’t do them often.

*He actually looked annoyed, not sheepish.

** She didn’t help. As if.

*** I picked them up hours later, after the yard sales.

Weekends are better than weekdays

Thursday was a tiny bit better for Moon and a WHOLE BUNCH better for me, mainly because the in-laws came and, whew. It’s nice to have a Star Teacher in the family when homework is on the line. On a side note, it’s nice to have a Sicilian in the family when death is on the line, but that’s another story.

Anyway, M and PaPa showed up on Thursday and I could not have been happier. M provided 42 hours of free tutoring and 73 games of Chicken Coop, while PaPa provided the Bloody Mary’s. Moon and I were in heaven!

And it got better. Moon went to school on Friday, so I, being the best daughter-in-law in the world, took the in-laws into Atlanta for the BRIDGE NATIONALS. I had bragged about how easy it was to get there, and about the $5.00 parking across the street, only to find that traffic was backed up for several exits and the parking lot had decided to raise the rates to $20 bucks! We opted for a $10 space just a few miles away and I feel certain the up-hill walk to the bridge game was invigorating for everyone involved. Either way, we all won so it was totally worth it. Afterward, we went out for a nice, healthy lunch.

I’m referring to our MENTAL health, obviously.

We got home to an empty house. Moon had gone home with a friend and they spent the evening at the Braves game. Not only did she see their 14th win of a 14 game winning streak, she came home with a game ball! You know, the ACBL ought to really consider giving out “game” cards, amiright?

By Saturday, we were all a little worn out and over wrought. My mother-in-law made note that PaPa had fixed himself a “drink” and it was only noon.

He didn’t seem to give much weight to her opinion. In his defense, she looked like this at the time –

Basically, we drove them crazy.

AmmoGuy brought over the girls for some bonding time Saturday afternoon and we all sat around eating Chinese food and being lazy. In another word – perfection!

Sunday, we all went to church, then I came home and cleaned house, played Barbies, grabbed 10 pounds of BBQ with my friend Kathryn, took it all to the church so Moon and the students could eat, came home and ate some of the aforementioned BBQ, and now I’m on the couch swearing that tomorrow, I will REALLY, SERIOUSLY begin my diet.

So, family, bridge, overeating, diet plans and delusions – in other words, a typical weekend.

God Does

This was just one of those days. Everywhere I looked, GOD was making things happen. First of all, I read an amazing post from my friend in India. And by “amazing”, I mean MIRACULOUS! You can read it for yourself HERE. Prepare for your mind to be blown.

Then I remembered that my friend was starting a new job today. A few weeks ago, she decided to go back to work. She wasn’t thrilled because she enjoyed staying home with her child, but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. But God, being awesome, gave her a job she could work from home. Perfect!

And THEN someone posted a link on Facebook to an Ann “I see God in everything” Voskamp post, which made me cry for the second time today. Spoiler alert – it’s about a goat.

And finally, we took Moon to her Sneak-a-Peek at school. She was nervous, and I have to admit that when I saw all of the kids, all of the STRANGE kids, I was nervous too. But as we turned the first corner, her best buddy from last year came running toward her. They have home room together! Moon said that most of the butterflies left at that point. It’s great because of all the kids in the class, Moon only knew three. Having a friend by her side will go a long way in making her feel comfortable.


I’m no Ann Voskamp, but even I can see God when He shows out like today.

God Watches The Big Bang Theory

Saturday morning, I was in a mood. It started because I got up and read the bible and Paul was all IN IT. You know what I mean? There was no I’ll just go to church on Sunday and call it a day. He was living it every moment of every day. So there I was, talking to God, and just being ill cause it seems like Christians today, primarily ME, don’t live like that, don’t DO Christianity that way.

A few minutes later, my friend Kathryn called. We had plans to walk, but it seems that she found a homeless lady walking down 41 and she thought she’d give her a ride to Must. But first, she’d bring her by MY HOUSE so I could ride with them. My first thought was, SHE’LL KNOW WHERE I LIVE! Then I heard God speak, “Bazinga!” Yeah, good one God. Way to point out the shallowness of my heart before I’d even put down my morning coffee.

Two minutes ago I’d been ill cause I don’t live out Christianity in a sacrificial way, then presented with an opportunity, I started freaking out. I. Am. Awesome.

Later, I was thinking about how I wanted Moon to read, but that the point was not the ACTION of reading, I wanted her to LOVE books. So maybe the point of doing Christianity, is not to DO the right things, but to have a HEART for the things of God. Feeding the homeless is good, but LOVING the homeless would be the point – much harder.

Like crawling into bed with Moon and spending the day reading so she’d really get it, maybe WE can’t get the heart of God without laying up with Him for some serious bonding time. I. am. deep.

Between reading in bed with Moon, and laying up with God, I’m probably not gonna have much time for work. It’s the price you pay for being IN IT.

Joy Journal 81 – 90

I had a great day at church yesterday – what an amazing God we have! He’s topping my Joy Journal today.

81. I’m so thankful for a God who is Master, yet came to serve.

82. He invites His friends AND His enemies to the table.

83. Even my enemies work for God. I’m thankful I know that, even if they don’t!

84. I’m thankful for Pastors who give up so much to serve.

85. I’m grateful to all the volunteers who help out at church with very little thanks or reward.

86. Worship leaders bring me joy!

87. Thankful for the Church in action.

88. The Lord knows all about me. And He still says come!

89. I’m thankful that Atlanta has so many great places to worship.

90. Thankful for freedom in worship. Let’s dance!

How about you? What’s inspiring you to dance this week?

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, that my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever … Psalm 30:11-12.

Joy Journal 71 -80

I have a folder on my desk marked, “Faith Stuff”. It’s where I tuck the numerous bits and pieces I find along the way. Some are handouts from church, or things I’ve found on the internet, bible verses I want to remember, or encouragements given to me from friends. One of the sheets of paper was given to me years ago in “cell group”. It’s a listing of what God says about me. About you. So, I’m thankful:

71: That I am a saint (Eph. 1:1)

72. That I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3)

73. That I am chosen by God, holy and dearly loved (Col. 3:12)

74. That I am a child of the light (! Thess. 5:5)

75. That I am a holy partaker of God’s heavenly calling (Heb. 3:!)

76. I am sanctified (Heb. 2:11)

77. I am one of God’s living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house (1 Pet. 2:5)

78. I may approach God with boldness, freedom, and confidence (Eph. 3:12)

79. I have been rescued from Satan’s domain and transferred into the Kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13)

80. My needs are met by God. (Phil 4:19)

Today, I’ll try and live like I believe it.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Holy Sunday – Channeling Ann Voskamp

We’re preparing for bed, side by side in the bathroom, when I see her reflection in the mirror and I’m struck with how incredible it is – me, her mom. Without thinking I ask, “Moon, do you ever wonder why God put you in this family and not some other one?” Is this just an adoptive mom’s question or does ever mother’s heart wonder?

She shrugs. “Sometimes. And I wonder what purpose I was created for.” I’m just letting that wash over me when she adds, hesitantly, “I’m not saying I’d choose another mom, but sometimes I wonder why not Miss Jeanette, or Miss Melanie from Girl Scouts. Why not Britt and Kathryn? Why THIS family?”

Why, indeed. I lay in bed later thinking, why us, why me. And then, Why was I born into MY family, not the neighbor’s across the street, or across the state, or another country? What purpose was I created for? What journey, already written, needed to begin where He put me?

I don’t know, but His purposes for me didn’t begin when I turned 18 or 21 or last week. It was planned from the beginning. And I wouldn’t trade this journey – beginning, middle, and unknown end for anyone else’s.

The morning comes, and Moon stops her rushing around, to come and hug me. “You’re the best mom in the world. I really believe that.” She dashes off to finish cleaning her room.

The name of the path I walk is,”Blessed”.

Psalm 139:16  You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.