Sunday, March 20, 2011


Do you ever notice sometimes we make problems bigger than they have to be?  I think it is human nature or the way we are wired or something.  I have done it before and I am sure I will do it again.  When I do it, I always "catch myself" in that situation.  Case in point.  I like to think of myself as a "fix-it" kinda guy.  I have always had some degree of luck with lots of things I have tackled so I am usually willing to try about anything.  Recently, I was preparing my lawnmower for the spring season.  I brought the 42" cut riding mower into my workshop, pulled the cutting deck out from under the bottom of the mower and began to clean away some of last year's clippings.  I noticed the main drive belt from the motor to the transmission needed to be changed.  I have had the mower probably 10 years and I knew it had never been changed before.  After closer inspection, I could tell it was barely holding on.  So, I began to explore how to REMOVE the belt.  As usual, when you start trying to remove something like that, you can tell the engineers that designed the parts around this circumstance of "changing the belt" were not planning on changing the belt on their personal mower!  I once had a classic car and to change the oil pan gasket, you had to take the engine loose from the frame of the car.  Come to find out, the SAME was required on changing the belt on this mower!  (Could it have been the same engineer?)  I did get the belt off and my wife picked up a new one.  I was "away" from the project for a couple of weeks due to other obligations and then a bigger problem set in on getting the repair completed.

So, the Saturday comes when I have no other obligations but the basketball games at hand.  I have the morning to myself prior to the games I want to listen to and watch around the noon hour.  I have the new "Saturday morning tradition breakfast", review the paper and then THINK about getting started on putting that belt on.  But, it has been several weeks since I took off the bad belt.  Will I remember how I took the old one off?  Will the sun be in my eyes?  Will I remember where all of the parts go back on?  Will I have bolts/parts left over?  Of course, the bolts thing is never a good sign.  And you can see what has happen to me, I have let DOUBT find a place in my head and my heart.  How does doubt get into our heads?  I don't usually feel like I put it there but it gets there.  I think doubt is of the devil.  Seriously.  And, there is a fine line between doubt and self-confidence.  I don't know about you but DOUBT for me can be a brick wall that is 20 feet tall and 3 feet thick......if I LET IT BE.  Doubt can be the downfall of individuals, organizations or even a whole country.  Japan is experiencing one of the worst natural disasters I have ever seen in my lifetime.  Do you think that people in that country have had their confidence shaken?  I don't think there is any question they have.  But, there are people in that country and from all over the World that believe they can help the people of Japan get on the other side of the situation and circumstances caused by it.  Hopefully, this will help them overcome the doubt they are experiencing about their futures right now.

Our story about the belt continues.  Well, I did jump into the job of getting the belt changed.  The grass was getting high and really needed to be cut, I had no choice.  My son wanted me to come to Bowling Green and play golf.  It would have been a great day for that and it would have been lots of fun.  It was also an excuse for me to not have to tackle fixing the mower.  But, I buckled down.  I tacked the job.  I was victorious over the obstacle and I overcame the doubt I had created in my mind about being able to get the job done.  I remembered where every part went.  I remembered how the belt went back on the mower.  I didn't have any parts left over, although I thought I was going to have two nuts!!!  But I persisted.  I thought, I looked closely at the situation, I examined.  I didn't get in a hurry, I thought the situation through, I found where the two nuts went and then I re-examined the entire job to make sure something was not going to come flying off to injure myself or someone else.  And, when the job was finished, I mowed the yard.  I still got to listen to and watch the ballgames, but I did not get to play golf.  Next week for the golf.  With the lawnmower fixed and the yard cut.  And you know, I will probably feel better about my drives, my shots in the fairway and my putting as a result of fixing the mower.  I will probably have more confidence in my shots because I overcame doubt.

If we are not careful, doubt can take up residence in our minds, in our hearts and in our lives.  Our hearts and minds is not a place where we should give doubt a place to reside.  And, probably the reason we let doubt have such a prominent place is because there is room in our head and heart for doubts' occupancy. Romans 8:28  says, "all things work together for good for them that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose".  I want to be a God-purpose person in my life everyday.  I want to please God and I know He is with me if I let Him be there.  If you and I would give God the place He deserves in our heads and our hearts there will be less room for doubt in our lives about everything.  If I make God more of who you are through your character and your choices and there will be less doubting and more doing.


We are in the thick of basketball season.  Winning is everything and losing is, well losing.  So many times we can only see that winning is what happens to winners.  After the day we experienced yesterday, it helps me realize that sometimes winners lose too.

I have been watching with great anticipation several basketball teams over the course of the last few weeks.  I also have been close enough to some of those teams that I have had a chance to get involved in putting together some ideas to help create some "motivation" for the players.  Here is one I know that was used a couple of times.

With each shot you take, 
With every pass you make, 
Champions choose their future.
Winning happens with every play, every pass, every shot.  
Determine you WILL WIN and you CANNOT LOSE.  

As I more carefully consider the outcome of at least two teams I was following and cheering for yesterday, I need to make some clarification.  Two teams I was cheering for did not have the highest score at the end of the game, but they were still certainly champions.  And, I think we can also take the thoughts in the poem above and apply them to life.  In a ball game, the shots and plays all ultimately have impact on "THAT" individual game, but it does not ultimately determine if you are a winner or a loser.  In life, every choice we make has impact on our daily lives but those choices don't determine if we are winners or losers.    In the ballgame, the score at the end of the game might determine who wins the game, or the tournament, but how you deal with your score determines if you are a winner or a loser.  And, you know really our daily lives are the same.  Choices we make might not always be the best choices.  But, it is how we deal with the choices we have made when we see the outcome that determines if we are a winner or a loser.

While your team may not still be in the tournament, don't stop believing in your team.  Your team lives to play another day.  And, if you were a senior, you did the best you could right?  But you didn't win the game.  Well, get over it.  Welcome to life 101.  That is the way it goes.  If you haven't learned by now that not everything works out exactly the way you want it to, then it is time to LEARN THAT.  Lots of things in life don't work out exactly the way you intended but life goes on.  Learn from the circumstances you were in and and the choices that were made.  True in basketball, true in life.  If you are a coach, ditto.  There is a next year coaches.  And, if there is not a next year and you lose your job maybe you need to consider a different profession.  We need to learn to learn from things that happen in life instead of letting those things take us out or keep us down.  We need to persevere no matter if we win or lose.  We need to realize that things don't always work out the way you want them to, but you can learn from everything that happens.  Believe that there is something good that comes from everything that happens whether a win or a loss.

Ultimately, you decide which one is you.  In basketball and in life.  Win or lose, the way you take what the score is determines which ONE YOU ARE.  I have seen game winners that are losers and game losers that are winners.  Again, the same is true with life.  If we lose one day in a choice or decision we make, don't be a loser, be a winner.  The score at the end of the game doesn't always reflect your effort so don't let it control your life.  Choose to be a winner in basketball and in life and with every shot you take, and with every pass you make, you can choose your future.