About miltonhooper

I feel compelled to write. It's just something I do. I have always heard that "everything happens for a reason". I feel like I write for a reason.

The Fragility of Self-Esteem

youuglyWe all have a need to feel loved and accepted but it is important that we have a healthy sense of self-esteem.  Developing and keeping our self-esteem healthy can be a constant battle.

Self-esteem is defined as confidence in one’s own worth or abilities.   I have to admit that sometimes my confidence could be a whole lot better.

I was thinking about the young man recently who went through an airport security station in Rochester, New York and was handed a note by the security person.  When he opened the note it read: “you ugly”.   (Read the story here)  Now that’s just mean.  I’m glad to read that the airport screener was fired for that.  I just hope this young man has a good self-esteem.

The foundation for our confidence in our worth and abilities are developed at a young age.   Saying things to a child such as “you’re an idiot” or “you have to be smart to do that” are things that can make that foundation pretty weak.  Parents have a important role but when we get older we can’t blame it on them.  It’s up to us to fix it.

Like the young man at the Rochester airport I had my own “ugly” incident in high school.  I passed around my high school yearbook for my friends to sign it and was looking forward to reading their comments when it was returned.  To my disappointment someone had written “to a very, very ugly kid”.   It was anonymous but you can image how I felt.

When we get older, we have to do something with fixing the weak foundation.  Many times people do it by overcompensating in other areas.  Some try to find it in their careers.  Instead of doing what is expected, they go to the extreme.  Do you know what that gets you?  More stress and more work to gain the same approval.

Gaining approval by others is such a dangerous slippery slope.  You may get it but at what cost and what do you have to do to maintain it?

Let me say this one thing that I’m constantly trying to learn myself:  You don’t need anyone’s damn approval of you!  It is good to have someone who supports you and loves you no matter what but you still need to accept yourself.   If you are a good person and you do your best it doesn’t matter.  I often find myself falling into that approval trap.  Approval from others can’t be the load-bearing wall in your house of self-esteem.  If it is, when you don’t get the approval you want, your self-esteem collapses upon itself.

The key to developing a good and healthy self-esteem is by having integrity.  C.S. Lewis said that integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.  Do your best and understand that if it isn’t that you have room to improve.  Don’t let someone’s opinion of you fuel your self-esteem.  People are fickle.  You can be the hero one day and then it is forgotten the next day.  People tend to only remember what you do good until they need something else.

Here are some ways that we all could do to maintain a healthy self-esteem:

  • Don’t compare yourself with others.  This is an easy trap to fall into.  When I moved to Nashville four years ago people were constantly reminding me of my predecessor.  Finally one day I had enough and decided that I was going to do things MY way because I knew what I was doing and had been successful in other places.
  • Take care of yourself physically.  The way we feel physically can seriously affect our self-esteem.  We need to eat right and get exercise.  If we don’t feel good, we will let our guard down.
  • Accept who you are.  Ignore what people think about you.  Be who you are.
  • It’s not about your work title.  You need to separate yourself from your job title.  The world likes to judge people based upon what they do.  Don’t let that make you who you are.
  • Surround yourself with positive influences.  Get rid of drama in your life. Don’t be around people who bring you down.

We have to work at this everyday because the world is full of cruel people.  We live in a world where people will post mean comments to social media without regard for anyone else.  A healthy self-esteem is crucial for us to rise above it and have an enjoyable life.  When we believe in ourselves and our abilities, we become more resilient in the face of adversity.

Good vs. Bad

Angel and devil on a man´s shoulder cartoon

“But it’s harder to be good!”

That’s what I recently heard a 3-year-old say.

Well, I hate to break the news to him but it only gets harder the older you get.

The battle between good and bad is a lifelong struggle. Sorry, I don’t mean to be a downer but we can’t pretend the struggle isn’t real.

Paul hit it when he wrote said it in Romans 7:15-20:

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Okay, so that’s not so easy to understand. In fact, it makes your head hurt trying to read this but basically it says that we are constantly fighting to do what we should and we often do the things we shouldn’t do. It is quite a frustrating battle. Unfortunately, our nature is to do bad rather than good.We all have something that we battle with. No, it’s not always easy to do good. I came from a background that claimed a person could be perfect. If you sinned then it was said that you “backslid” and you would have to start all over again as if you wiped out all the good you had done. Fortunately, I have learned that we serve a merciful God who knows our weaknesses and the everyday battle we have with good and bad. It was ridiculous to think anyone could be perfect.

We all face choices each day and moments when we have to decide to do good or bad. It takes courage to resist and walk away from the bad. Sometimes we fall right into the bad choice so effortlessly before we realize it.

God isn’t waiting for us to fail. He’s waiting for us to depend on Him to do good. If you’ve something bad has gotten you today, don’t stay down about it. Too often we just don’t own up to it and talk to God about it immediately. The temptation is to give into our failures and assume that God is mad at us and He doesn’t want to hear from us. We out ourselves in a self-imposed time out and that is not God’s desire for us.

Sadly, the 3-year-old’s comment is right. It is harder to be good. We can’t do it on our own. We need to let go of our pride and allow God’s love to work in us in that we aren’t good on our own. Yes, we screw up and make bad choices but we can recover and learn from the experiences of good and bad moments.

I often have to deal with my moods. Honestly I can get moody which is caused by factors such as how I am feeling physically, emotionally or stress. I have to really make an effort not to let it affect my life and then sometimes I just give into it without a fight. Yes, it’s hard to be good but if we do it is worth the effort. When I am weak I just take a timeout and sit in silence before God or listen to inspiring music. These timeouts have a way of resetting things for me.

Do whatever works for you to be able to fight for good.

Want To Buy Greenland?

Okay, so our President wants to buy Greenland?

Say what?

I had to do one of those “is this for real” reactions when I first read about this. Apparently, he seems to figure this would be some sort of strategic move.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to talk about politics. I really don’t care who you support and don’t want to debate about that part of this story. I just want to tell you why buying Greenland is such a bad idea.

I lived in Greenland for one LONG year from 1983-1984 when I was stationed at Thule Air Base in Northern Greenland. Let me start off by saying that Greenland is NOT a tropical island.

The first reason that buying Greenland is a bad idea is because it’s cold. The average temperature is 50 degrees. The ground is called “permafrost” which means the grind is permanently frozen. So building there is pretty tricky. You aren’t going to build skyscrapers there. Yeah, I know about Global Warming and how some of the glaciers are melting but it’s still pretty darn cold all the time.

The second reason is that most of the island is in darkest almost half of the year. For six months, people experience the “dark season” which is pretty depressing. I remember how excited people were in the spring when the sun finally peaked over the mountains. The six months of 24 hours of sun isn’t as bad.

Another reason, current residents aren’t so fond of Americans. Greenlandic and Danish didn’t like us too well when I was there and I don’t think it has gotten much better. In fact, the Danes call Americans “horse thieves” in their native language. That’s not too endearing.

Global warming or not, most of Greenland is still under ice. Contrary to its confusing name, there isn’t much green in Greenland.

I always think of my time in Greenland as a unique experience. I would love to go back for a visit but I wouldn’t want to live there. It’s different and not like any other place I have ever been. One article suggests purchase of Greenland would see a surge in tourism.

I seriously doubt that.

I think it would be best to leave Greenland alone. We have a hard enough time taking care of our own territories as it is. Ask the folks in Puerto Rico.

We certainly don’t need to buy a huge chunk of rock.

Football Friday (8/16/19)

Albany Empire rolls to ArenaBowl title

While our traditional American football season is approaching, there are still teams and leagues around the world playing the sport.  Here’s a recap of news from around the world:

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Albany Empire finished up its seasonal theme “unfinished business” with a dominating second half en route to a 45-27 victory over the Philadelphia Soul in the Arena­Bowl 32 Sunday night before a crowd of 12,042 at Times Union Center.

Game MVP Tommy Grady, who won the last two seasonal MVPs, tossed five touchdown passes, four of them to Quentin Sims, and the Empire defense came up big with numerous turnovers and possession stops for Albany, which went 10-2 in the regular season and then dominated its two-game semifinal series. Sunday was much the same in the second half against the third-seeded Soul.  Read more…

CANADA

Current Canadian Football League standings:

East Division

  1. Hamilton Tiger Cats (6-2)
  2. Montreal Alouettes (3-4)
  3. Ottawa RedBlacks (3-5)
  4. Toronto Argonauts (1-6)

West Division

  1. Winnipeg Bluebombers (7-2)
  2. Calgary Stampeders (5-3)
  3. Saskatchewan Roughriders (5-3)
  4. Edmonton Eskimos (5-3)
  5. British Columbia Lions (1-8)

GERMANY

The Allgäu Comets  withstood a furious late comeback by the Marburg Mercenaries to defeat their German Football League South rivals 22-19 and move closer to a playoff berth with four games to go in the season.

The Comets had taken a 22-7 lead with less than two minutes remaining when Marburg scored two late touchdowns to narrow the gap. But Allgäu’s Danny Wynne pounced on the second onside kick attempt to secure the win.

Marburg came into the game as winners of six of the last seven games with the best passing offense in the league. Read more…

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

NALThe Jacksonville Sharks (14-1) will host the Carolina Cobras (10-5) this weekend in Jacksonville for the NAL Championship.

These two teams met last year in the playoffs. This was a game where tensions were high, as there were multiple ejections for unsportsmanlike conduct in the game. The Cobras blew this one open early, scoring the first 26 points and leading 39-7 at the half. The Sharks tried to fight back in the second half but could not get any closer than 21 as the Cobras won for the third time in a row 73-48, taking the series to 3-1 Cobras. This win not only dethroned the defending NAL Champions, it sent the Cobras to the NAL Championship where they destroyed the Columbus Lions 66-8 to become the 2018 NAL Champions.

WOMEN’S EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Team Finland scored a touchdown with under 10 seconds left on the clock to break a tie and defeat Sweden 27-20 in the second round of the IFAF 2019 Women’s European Championships inLeeds, England.

With the win, Finland now has a chance to capture their second straight European title.

This was a tale of two halves. The two teams combined for 40 points in the second half after Finland took a 7-0 halftime lead.

Running back Tytti Kuusinen was again outstanding scoring two touchdowns while Mari Jääskeläand Anne Rasilahti scored one apiece. Sanni Seppälä kicked three extra points. Read more…

(Thanks to American Football International and Our Sports Central for their stories)

City Rescinds Approval For Boot Scooters To Use Greer Stadium

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Boot Scooters Forced To Find A New Home

First they approved it – with conditions – and now the city has rescinded their approval to the Nashville Boot Scooters to use Herschel Greer Stadium for their home games in September.

“We just didn’t feel like conditions would be made safe in one month for the team to play there,” said Jerry Jackson, City Councilman.  “We feel bad that we told they could and now we have changed our minds but it was never about the team or the organization.  Safety of the players and fans was our main concern.”

Team Manager Ryan Cooper is now scrambling to find another site for home games.

“This really puts us in a bind and now we are trying to find some place to play.  We didn’t want to go any further from the downtown area but now we are getting desperate.  This is disappointing.”

Cooper said that the team is now looking at locations such as the Nashville Fairgrounds, Vanderbilt University and Lipscomb University as potential locations for the team’s first season in the X-treme Scooter Quidditch League (XSQL).

The Boot Scooters’ first game is scheduled for Saturday, September 26th against the San Francisco Muggles.

There have been rumors that the Boot Scooters could sit out the first season and wait until 2020 to field a team.

“False,” said Cooper.  “We ARE going to play somewhere.  Coach Henning and his staff are close to finalizing the roster and they are practicing and preparing for the season.  We may not like the location but it will be temporary this season until we can find a more permanent home.”

Cooper also said that fans can order their tickets now by calling 1-800-SCOOTIN.

[THIS IS A FICTIONAL SPORTS STORY.  IT IS INTENDED FOR ENTERTAINMENT ONLY.]

 

 

Good News Wednesday (8/14/19)

I need some good news.   What about you?  Here are a few things that will make you feel good about the world…

GNW_081419_01WOMAN IN NEED OF SURGERY WINS $5,000 ON GRAND SLAM
(from www.ourmidland.com)
When Lori Ford arrived at Dow Diamond on Sunday afternoon, she was hoping to enjoy a Great Lakes Loons’ game and maybe get her mind off of pending hip surgery. And then it happened.

A couple of hours later, one swing of the bat brought tears to her eyes — and changed her life dramatically.

The Loons’ James Outman homered to rightfield with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning, making Ford the first-ever winner of the Miller Lite Grand Slam Inning, a promotion which the team has been running since 2013. Ford, whose name was randomly drawn on the day of the game to participate in the promotion, received a check in the amount of $5,000 courtesy of Miller Lite. And, as she pointed out in a voice steeped with excitement, the money will be put to good use.

Very good use.

“(Loons’ onfield host Ashley VanOchten) asked me what I would use the money for if I won, and I told her that I was having hip surgery next Monday, and that (prize money) would definitely help with medical bills,” said Ford, a resident of Mount Morris. “It’s one of those things where you have to put down a deposit (up front) or else they won’t do the surgery, so this is such a relief.

“I went (to Dow Diamond on Monday) and picked up the check, and I’ve already been able to pay some of the medical bills,” she added. “Everything is OK now. I’m going to get fixed up and get better.”

Loons’ Assistant General Manager Matt DeVries said he was thrilled that a person like Ford was the first to finally win the Grand Slam Inning.

“Anytime we do a promotion like this, we’re always hoping we can be lucky enough to draw the perfect contestant to be the winner,” DeVries said. “And we couldn’t have asked for a better winner than Lori. She was so excited and so enthusiastic, and considering her situation, with surgery coming up, to be able to help offset some of that cost is near and dear to our mission of helping the surrounding community.

“I was ecstatic (that she won),” he added, noting of the Grand Slam Inning promo, “It was a long time coming and long overdue. We’re in the seventh year of this promotion, and no one had ever won it before. We were all super thrilled that Lori was our first-ever winner.”

Ironically, Ford admitted that she almost didn’t even register to be in the drawing for the Grand Slam Inning. And even after her name was drawn, she had almost zero expectation of actually winning.

“I had taken my sister to a Loons’ game before, and we both put our names in, and she actually won the drawing (to be the Grand Slam Inning contestant),” Ford said with a chuckle. “This time, I didn’t (register) at first, but then I walked around for a little bit and finally thought, ‘Maybe I’ll put my name in again, and they’ll pick me by some odd chance.'”

Once the bottom of the sixth inning arrived, Ford noted, things got exciting very quickly.

“It went very fast. (Romer Cuadrado) hit a home run to start the inning, and then they had the bases loaded (afterward). I thought, ‘Well, I won’t win, but I’ll stand up and ring the bell and cheer for (Outman) anyway,'” Ford said. “But then Ashley (VanOchten) said to me, ‘You know, when (Outman’s) girlfriend and family are here, he always does so good. I think you’re going to win.'”

According to Ford, watching Outman’s homer sail over the rightfield wall was pretty surreal.

“The first pitch was a strike, and then he hit the second pitch, and my boyfriend said to me, ‘It’s going to go over the fence!’ And it did,” she said, the emotion in her voice continuing to build. “I started screaming and crying, and Ashley was jumping up and down next to me like a kangaroo. Everyone was so excited. They stopped playing (the game), and the players were all waving and clapping for me. It was so exciting.

” … (Winning) the money was wonderful, but the whole atmosphere was incredible,” she added. ” … It was just a wonderful thing, a great moment.”

DeVries said that he almost didn’t even get to see Outman’s homer. He was in a different part of the stadium coordinating a separate promotion when he heard that Outman was up with the bases loaded. Fortunately, he hurried back to field level just in time to witness history.

“Of course, James hits the second pitch (of the at-bat), and I was just running back up the tunnel (when he hit it),” DeVries said. “Our in-house video crew captured this funny image of me with this look on my face like, ‘Did this actually just happen?!’

“Luckily, Ashley and our video team were right there to capture the moment (with Ford),” he added. “There was a lot of hugging and jumping around and just absolute disbelief.”

Incredibly, the story only gets better from there.

According to Ford, a 10-year-old boy from Coleman, Landon Babcock, retrieved the home run ball and promptly delivered it to her without being prompted by his parents.

“That was so sweet. What a good little boy,” Ford enthused. “I said, ‘There’s a little man right there.’ He told me, ‘Good luck with your surgery.’ How many little kids say that?”

Landon’s mother, Becky Babcock, said that it didn’t take her son long to start thinking about Ford.

“He came back with the ball and sat down for a second and then said, ‘Mom, I wonder if that lady would like this ball,’ and I said, ‘Yes, she might,’ and so we went and found her,” Babcock said, adding of Ford’s reaction, ” … She was a little teary-eyed and just overjoyed. She was smiling and wanted to give Landon a hug. She was thankful and happy that he did that.”

Asked if she was a little surprised by her son’s decision, Babcock replied with a laugh, “Yeah, I was. I was like, ‘Wow, maybe I’m doing something right (as a parent).’ He’s got a soft heart, and it is pretty cool that he thought to do that.”

DeVries agreed that Babcock’s gesture was “special.”

“It speaks to the type of young man Landon is. Obviously, he’s been brought up the right way, and he did a lot for Lori that day,” DeVries said. “It makes a heartwarming story come full circle for a young man to have a thought like that.

“Very often, the young person is on the receiving end (of a home run ball), where an adult catches the ball and gives it to a young person and just makes their day,” he added. “But this time, Landon has that great memory, but so does Lori. And then James (Outman) gave Landon a signed bat, so the good times just kept on coming.”

Becky Babcock said that her son was “so excited” to be presented with a bat by Outman.

“He told me, ‘Mom, I wouldn’t have thought that any of this would happen when I gave (Ford) that ball,'” she said. “What he’s taking from this is that, when you do something nice for someone, sometimes people will do something nice for you.

“He’s ecstatic to have that bat,” she added. “I don’t know that he’s put it down yet.”

According to DeVries, Outman’s homer traveled around 380 feet and just barely cleared the rightfield wall in front of the scoreboard — not far, fittingly, from the Miller Lite sponsorship sign.

“We’ve had bases loaded at least a dozen times (during the Grand Slam Inning) in the past, and we had a ball hit the top of the wall (with bases loaded) last year,” he noted. “We’ve been very close (to having a winner), and this one finally cleared the fence.”

Ford said that she just might have had some help from above.

“My mom is (deceased), but she was a gambler. She liked to play Bingo and things like that. Before (Outman’s homer), I looked up and said, ‘Mom, if you hear me, maybe you could sprinkle some of your good luck dust on me,'” Ford said with another chuckle. “It was so exciting, and I just couldn’t believe it. I can’t get up and down real fast, but I think I jumped right out of my seat. It made me cry.”

Becky Babcock said that Sunday was a great day to be at the ballpark all the way around.

“Probably just the joy on people’s faces, especially (Ford’s) and Landon’s,” she said when asked what she’ll remember most about that day. “It’s just a nice environment down there (at Dow Diamond) anyway, but that (joy) made for a very special time for everyone.”

GNW_081419_02YOUNG MAN PAYS IT FORWARD WITH SCHOLARSHIP FOR FATHERLESS STUDENT
(from fox43.com)
“I would dream of running around the yard playing tag with my dad, yet the reality is I could never do any of these things with my dad because I did not have the opportunity to know him,” said Demetrius Howard as he sat at the kitchen table reading a student’s story.

It’s a story Demetrius knows all too well.

“I seen that other people were going through some of the things that I was going through in life and it really humbled me to see that, and be able to help others,” said Demetrius.

When he was only three months old his father was shot and killed.

“I think growing up without a father could impact anyone’s childhood,” said the Newtown High School graduate. For months he has been preparing to present an award to a hard-working senior. With the help of his supporters, Demetrius will award an African American male student, who has lost their father to gun violence, with $1,000, a computer, and a printer.

“I hope he’s happy. I hope he’s very excited, as excited as I am,” said Demetrius.” I created this scholarship to help a victim who is striving against the statistical image of the minority youth.”

Several students submitted their stories in hopes of being chosen.

“Reading the letters, it was like wow, like there are so many other people who are faced with the same challenge,” said Demetrius’ mother Tamika Grahm.

That young man is Jayden Snip, who attends Newton High School just as Demetrius once did.

“To know someone in my community who walked the same halls as I did, it brings closure and lights to what I went through, and what I grew up with the, the obstacles I had to face as well,” said Jayden. He says the scholarship means a lot to him knowing he’s not the only one who went through a similar experience.

As for Demetrius, he plans on raising money for next year. Always hoping that somewhere his father is proud.

“Knowing that my father was looking at my every action, that’s what motivated me to stay on the right track,” said Demetrius.

GNW_081419_03CHASE BANK FORGIVES DEBTS FOR CANADIAN CREDIT CARD HOLDERS
(from www.goodnewsnetwork.org)
It’s not often that banks are praised for their compassion, but Canadian credit card holders are rejoicing over their bank’s recent decision to forgive all outstanding debt on two of their old Visa programs.

After spending a little over a decade in the Canadian credit card market, US-based Chase Bank opted to retire their Amazon.ca Rewards Visa and their Marriott Rewards Premier Visa in March 2018.

As of last week, there were still Canadian cardholders who were making payments on their outstanding card debt—but Chase, rather than selling the debt to third party-collectors, sent letters to all of their Canadian customers this week explaining that their debt had been forgiven.

“Ultimately, we felt it was a better decision for all parties, particularly our customers,” Chase spokesperson Maria Martinez said in an email to CBC.

Despite how financial analysts have been confused by the bank’s decision to forgive the debt, Canadian customers are still in disbelief over their good fortune.

“Its crazy,” one customer told the Canadian news outlet. “This stuff doesn’t happen with credit cards. Credit cards are horror stories.”

Though Chase declined to say how much debt had collectively been wiped out by their decision, their former Amazon credit card boasted a 19.9% interest rate—and some Canadian cardholders told CBC that they had been forgiven for as much as $6,000 in debt.

“I was sort of over the moon all last night, with a smile on my face,” another consumer told CBC. “I couldn’t believe it.”

5 Tips on How to Make Every Day a Good Day
(from www.goalcast.com)

  1. Exercise first thing in the morning.
  2. Eat well.
  3. Dress well.
  4. Avoid situations that stress you out.
  5. Do something nice for yourself.

 

Monday with Milton

I’m all over the place today.  I’m calling it “miscellaneous Monday” because I’m a bit scattered today with a variety of issues on my mind.

Let’s start with the fun stuff…

Albany wins ArenaBowl 32 title

Remember the Arena Football League?  No?  Well, they played ArenaBowl 32 last night in Albany, New York.  The Albany Empire defeated the Philadelphia Soul 45-27 for the title.  I’ll have more details on my “Football Friday” post this week about it.  Let me just say that I have always been a fan of the league but their management has really screwed things up over the years.  Last season they were down to only four teams in the league and was close to closing up.  Reports indicate that they will revive the Cleveland Gladiators and maybe another team to their lineup.  Rumors continue circulating that Nashville might be one of those teams.

Macon Bacon eaten by Marlins

I read this weekend where the Macon Bacon, a collegiate summer league team in the Coastal Plains League, were playing in the championship against the Morehead City Marlins.  I have to laugh when I see that the Bacon had to knock off the Savannah Bananas in the playoffs.  Unfortunately, the Bacon lost the finals in game three last night 6-2.   There was an Instagram post last week showing Kevin Bacon wearing a Macon Bacon hat.  Who else would you expect Kevin Bacon to support?

New York Empire wins pro frisbee league title

The New York Empire defeated the Dallas Roughnecks 26-22 yesterday to win the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) championship.  The Empire completed an undefeated season to win their first title.  I’ll have to admit that I haven’t followed the AUDL as closely this season since we lost our Nashville franchise but I’m glad to see that the league continues to play.  I have heard rumors that other franchises might fold in the off season so it will be interesting to see what the league will look like next season.

Now some grumblings…..

Lowe’s delivers….whenever

We had some issues with Lowe’s this weekend with an order we had placed.  We were told the delivery would be Sunday but when had not heard anything from them, we called to be advised they were out-of-stock on an item and that the delivery would be on Tuesday.  This is unacceptable.  People make plans to be available for deliveries and take off from work – sometimes without pay – to be ready and when they don’t come or even communicate changes something needs to be done.  It is clear that Lowe’s does not communicate with everyone in the chain and apparently they fail in communicating to the local stores.  The acting store manager apologized but it seems that the online/phone ordering place “forces” the information to the local store and puts the local store in a bad situation if the item is not in stock.  Lowe’s needs to get it together if they want people to shop online.  My advice for you is to go to the local store and place the order.

School bus stop issue

Now that school has started, we have had an issue with students using our driveway as the bus stop.  Weird since we have no children at home ourselves right?  One of our neighbors informed us when we moved in that the bus stop had been moved to our driveway.  Now that we want this changed, it is taking an act of Congress to get it done.  I have contacted our homeowner’s association and the transportation department of the school yet it seems they can’t communicate to the bus driver to change the location to the stop sign on the corner which is just 25 feet from our drive way.  I am told they have “no control” over the situation.  Seriously? Can’t they tell the driver to stop the dang bus at the stop sign instead of our driveway?  The problem is that the kids tend to wander around and even up to our front door.  This could be a problem if they were injured on our property.  I guess I’m going to have to be one of “those” neighbors.

Beware of anonymous surveys

I found out this morning that our management is asking for our office to complete a survey and my area of work is one of those areas to be surveyed.  The surveys are anonymous.  That’s never a good thing in my experience.  You can only look at social media to see how mean people can be and now we have this anonymous survey.  Well, I am having to brace myself this one.

Automatic Weapons Debate

Why is this even a debate?  Why does the average citizen need an automatic weapon?  Yeah, I know the whole “Second Amendment Rights” but where’s the common sense in all of this?  If I go into a Chipotle, Walmart or Starbucks and someone is proudly carrying an automatic weapon simply because they can, I’m leaving.  Why be a dumb ass and scare the crap out of people?  I guess we need IQ scores to go along with background checks and mental health exams.  Good grief people!

What can I say?  It’s Monday.  Here’s what Forbes.com says about how to beat the “Monday blues” (yes, I’m totally going to make fun of these)…

  1. Identify the problem [the problem is MONDAY.  I think we’ve clearly identified it]
  2. Prepare for Monday on Friday [What???]
  3. Make a list of things you are excited about. [I’m excited about Friday]
  4. Unplug for the weekend [Oh yes, I definitely agree with this.  Some people need a life.]
  5. Get enough sleep and wake up early [Are you kidding me?  I already get up at 4:55 a.m.  So should I not even go to sleep??]
  6. Dress for success [It’s too much work to dress up and look pretty]
  7. Be positive [I’m positive that I do NOT like Mondays]
  8. Make someone else happy [Okay, now I’m getting nauseous]
  9. Keep your Monday schedule light [Suggestion…why do we just eliminate Monday?]
  10. Have fun at work [If it were fun it wouldn’t be called work.  Where does this person work?]
  11. Have a post-work plan [Is it Friday yet?]

 

Have a good week and be careful out there.  Keep your automatic weapons at home please.

 

 

GPS: God’s Positioning System

making-decisions2

Everything happens for a reason.

What a dumb statement that is yet people say it to try to explain when bad things happen in our lives.

Growing up in church I always heard that “All things work together for good” which is a piece from Romans 8:28.

Most of the time things weren’t exactly “good” at the time.

I think that Ecclesiastes 9:11 probably sums it up best:

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Time and chance.  Yes, that certainly happens to us all.

We all make decisions – both good and bad along life’s journey.  I used to stress out about making decisions because I wanted to make the perfect one.  I finally realized that you just do your best and make the choice.

Some people call it “fate” and I heard someone make this statement:

Fate is a tricky lady.  When you try to figure her out, you just get more confused.  All I know is that the mistakes I have made have made me who I am today.  If I were to go back and relive it differently, I wouldn’t be the me I am now.  I thought things were supposed to happen for a reason but the truth is that things happen randomly for no reason at all.  But they create opportunities, even the missed ones.  The question is:  can you recognize that next opportunity when it matters the most?

I can tell you from personal experience that God can handle the choices we make.  Some folks in the church get all tied up with the subject of predestination where they say that God already knows your life from beginning to end.  If that were true, what would be the point of freedom to choose?  I do believe God directs our path but if we fail to follow that path, He can still take that path and make it work for his purpose.  With each choice we make, He knows where that is headed and he can re-calculate our directions so that things can work together for good.

I know it’s confusing.

I have often been fascinated with books and movies about alternate realities and how choice we make have a ripple effect in our future.  The day we choose not to take the normal route to work or the time we miss the train.  Somehow it all works together.  It can stress you out if you think about it but I have always been encouraged by the song “God is in Control”.   If God has every hair on our head numbered, then that’s pretty certain He’s in control.

Decisions are hard.  We all want to make the right decision.  It’s difficult to make the perfect decision that is free of emotions or peer pressure.

I have made decisions that I just knew was right.  I felt it in my being although it contrary to what anyone else thought.  Sometimes it was right and sometimes it wasn’t but in the end, I have made it here.  I learned from those experiences.  It would really be nice if God spoke to us audibly and directed us that way.  I think it would be a whole lot easier but, for some reason, He doesn’t.  I’d like to know why.  But, for now, I try to do the best I can in listening to Him in however He chooses to communicate.  Many times He does this when I am silent.  When I turn off my devices and shut out the noise around me I can sense Him.  It’s not anything spooky or freaky.  It’s just the best way I know to tune into Him.  Even then, He sometimes doesn’t speak.

I don’t know what to say except that He’s God and I’m not.  I can’t make Him do what I want Him to do.  I guess that’s the part about Him being God.

If you are struggling with a decision, I suggest that you take a time out.  Turn off your mobile devices, silence the noise around you.  Sit silently before God.  This invites Him to speak to you and direct you.  Even if you aren’t a believer, just sit silently.  Calm yourself and your anxieties over the decision.  This isn’t some weird form of meditation but nothing more than a mental timeout.  Sometimes I have done this and still didn’t have a clue about what decision to make but at least I had a clear mind.  Many times the time out is the same as when your GPS has to refresh your directions.  It resets you to a new course.

God knows us.  He knows what we need and when we need it.  Even more than we know ourselves.  Sometimes we knock on doors for Him to open but sometimes He opens doors that we never thought to knock on.  That’s why He’s God.  Whether you believe in Him or not, there is a reason.  Many times I fussed and rebelled at things He has done in my life at the time but years and years later I have looked back and saw how that moment changed my life and directed me to something better.

I sure wish God would tell us what He was up to but He doesn’t.

That’s why it’s called faith.

Faith is the GPS for our life’s journey.

 

Football Friday (8/9/19)

Austria

Austria defeats Sweden for U19 European Gold Medal

Football – the American version – is played all over the world and throughout the year.  Let’s take a look at this week’s football news…

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE

The owner of the Wheeling-based West Virginia Roughriders announced the team will not be returning to the AAL for the 2020 season, but discussions with other leagues have not yet taken place. The AAL had some unstable teams during the 2019 season resulting in most teams playing non-league competition to fill out their schedules and some AAL teams suspended operations prior to or during the season. The Roughriders played as the Richmond (VA) Roughriders in the 2018 AAL season before relocating to Wheeling for the 2019 AAL season. The AAL’s Cape Fear Heroes (Fayetteville, NC) are rumored to be leaving the league for the 2020 season. A previously announced 2020 AAL expansion team called the Tampa Bay Tornadoes announced a September tryout, but some doubt has been reported as to whether the team will make it to its first season.

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

PHILADELPHIA SOUL 48, WASHINGTON VALOR 41
Game #2 – AFL Semifinals
(Philadelphia wins series 117-74)
The small scuffle in the third quarter of Sunday’s semifinal series finale between the Philadelphia Soul and the Washington Valor was a metaphor for the game, but not the series.

Both teams fought back and forth until the last minute-and-a-half, when Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh connected with wide receiver Darius Prince to take the lead with a 33-yard touchdown to win, 48-41.

The Soul didn’t want the game to be as close as it ended but coach Clint Dolezel said with the playoff format with aggregate scoring, it makes it a lot less stressful for both players and coaches.

“It’s the beauty of the home and away thing,” Dolezel said. “I would always want to play at home second. So, that if you do clinch it, it’s in front of your crowd.”

The win, combined with last week’s 69-33 victory, means the Soul advance to ArenaBowl XXXII with an aggregate win over the Valor, 117-74.

Before to Sunday’s game, Raudabaugh said the way the Soul would walk out of Wells Fargo Center as winners would be by scoring on every drive – and they did just that, at least in the first half.

ALBANY EMPIRE 62, BALTIMORE BRIGADE 21
Game #2 – AFL Semifinals
(Albany wins series 123-47)
The Arena Football League’s top point-producers were kept off the field Saturday night for more than eight minutes of the second quarter. It happened because Albany’s defense scored three straight touchdowns in a playoff game against the Baltimore Brigade.

It was part of a 62-21 humiliation that the Empire put on the Brigade at Royal Farms Arena to win their two-game, aggregate score semifinal playoff series, 123-47.

The Empire will now play host to ArenaBowl XXXII at 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at Times Union Center. The game, against the winner of the other semifinal series between Philadelphia and Washington, will be televised live by ESPN2.

“It’s an awesome feeling to get there for the first time,” said Terence Moore, a seventh-year linebacker who scored twice. “The good thing about the locker room is that we’re excited about being there, but we still feel we have one more to complete the job.”

Albany (12-2), coming off its second straight regular-season title, made this a no contest early. Having won last week’s meeting with Baltimore 61-26, the Empire needed only to stay within 34 points of the Brigade to play for the Arena title.

That was never their mentality.

READ MORE…

CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have had a revolving door at kick returner this season. Janarion Grant put an end to that on Thursday night. The former Rutgers star returned two punts for touchdown in his Canadian Football League debut, sparking the Bombers to a 26-24 win over the Calgary Stampeders at IG Field in Winnipeg.

The ownership group trying to bring a CFL expansion team called the Atlantic Schooners to Halifax (Nova Scotia) is still working on a business plan for a new stadium that will be a requirement for acceptance into the league. The earliest an expansion team could start play would be in 2021 and that season could be played in Moncton (Nova Scotia) or a temporary stadium in Halifax. The CFL is holding a regular-season game later this month at the University of Moncton as part of the 2019 edition of Touchdown Atlantic. The CFL has yet to close on a recently announced proposed sale of the Montreal Alouettes team whose ownership sold the team back to the league just prior to the 2019 season.

FINLAND

The Kuopio Steelers (7-2) and Seinäjoki Crocodiles (3-5) staged a game for the ages in Finland’s Maple League. The Steelers scored 37 third quarter points to beat Seinäjoki 85-55 in one of the highest scoring games in Maple League history.

Kuopio scored 64 points in the second half alone.

Trailing 35-21 at the half, the Steelers exploded for 37 points in the third quarter, holding Seinäjoki to just six and then added another 27 in the fourth.

Read more…

GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENTAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Oklahoma Thunder (9-1) are one win away from capturing their fourth consecutive National Championship and their eighth overall title in the franchise’s 12 seasons of operation. The only obstacle standing in Oklahoma’s path to another Gridiron Bowl title is a rematch with the Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs (10-0).

The Thunder and Bulldawgs have met in the regular season earlier this year. Middle Tennessee defeated Oklahoma 26-13 on June 29th, in Nashville,Tennessee getting a little payback from last seasons championship loss but there is a big difference in winning a championship game, versus winning a regular season game.

Flashback to 2018, the Thunder defeated the Bulldawgs 38-15 on August 11th in Gridiron Bowl IX in Birmingham, Alabama to give them their third consecutive national championship banner. They will face off again for the third time in their short history, in what is quickly becoming an intense rivalry.

This Gridiron Bowl will feature two of the most storied programs on the Minor League Football circuit today. The Bulldawgs have made five appearance in championship games the last five seasons since they have been established dating back to when they were still a part of the Tennessee Football League (TFL).

For the Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs, Gridiron Bowl X will mark their second straight Gridiron Bowl appearance. They are also seeking their first GDFL league championship since winning consecutive spring titles in the MTFL ,MFA & TFL .

Middle Tennessee punched their ticket to the 2019 Gridiron Bowl with a 32-27 victory over the Erie Express in the Intense Xtreme Conference Championship in Erie, Pennsylvania on last Saturday July 27.2019.

Chapa had three first half turnovers and another interception that bounced off the chest of Moore. After Erie took the lead with under two minutes to go, Chapa hit Moore on a 53 yard play to give the Bulldawgs the lead for good.

Thunder starting QB Damian Manning led the offense by completing 10-of-14 passes for 140 yards and two scores. Adidas McDonald also added a game-high 148 yards on the ground while also rushing for three touchdowns. WR Brandon Shepherd led receivers with 5 catches for 56 yards and a touchdown in the win.

Meanwhile, the Bulldawgs traveled to Cathedral Prep Events Center and defeated the Erie Express 32-27 in the Xtreme Conference Championship to earn their spot in the Gridiron Bowl. Bulldawgs trailed by three points at one point, after Hanna hit Terry Jackson on a 28 yard TD pass with Jeremy Ditzler adding the XP to give Erie the lead 27-24. 2:57 4th, but rallied.Bulldawg QB Eric Chapa and WR Tyran Moore showed some great moxie.

Defensively, the Thunder held River City to -8 yards in total offense, though this total was primarily due to key mistakes by the Pythons that resulted in -52 yards rushing. The Thunder also forced 5 turnovers, including one pick-six by CB Traivon Bryant, a sack/fumble forced by DE Rashawd Rushing, and a fumble recovery by WR DJ Dempsey deep in Python territory that led to a subsequent Thunder touchdown. .

As for the Bulldawgs defense, DB Chris Perkins led Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs in the turnover department with three interceptions a fumble recovery, four pass breakup and a touchdown in the victory over the Outlaws and Express. The Bulldawgs defense has been ranked #1 all season long and this is the most points they have given up to an opponent all season.

The 2019 National Championship (Gridiron Bowl X) between the Oklahoma Thunder and the Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs is slated for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff at Missouri Southern State University, in Joplin,Missouri Admissions $15.00

IFAF 2019 U19 European Championships

Although they started slow, Team Austria built momentum quickly and finally dominated Sweden in the gold medal final of the IFAF 2019 U19 European Championhips, shutting them out 28-0 Sunday evening in Bologna, Italy.

In front of a loud and boisterous crowd at Arcoveggio Stadium with Austrian and Swedish fans chanting back and forth, Austria simply outran, outmuscled and outhustled a Swedish team that had not faced this kind of speed and execution before in the tournament.

Austria jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead and then cruised in the second half for the win.

Read more…

IRELAND

The main event in the Irish American Football Association’s calendar is finally back once again as the four time champions Belfast Trojans take on the South Dublin Panthers for the Shamrock Bowl in its 33rd year. These two teams are well known to each, having faced each other multiple times in recent years. They last played each other on the 9th June 2019 in Belfast, where the Trojans came out 26-16 winners. This would be the first of a string of three defeats for the Panthers to end their regular season whilst the Trojans would win out their remaining four games.

The Trojans finished the regular season as second seeds, gaining home field advantage in the semi-final, of which they overcame UCD 14-0 in a rain soaked game at Harlequins RFC. Both defense’s took advantage of the weather, stifling each other’s offenses as both were finding it difficult to establish an air game in the tough conditions. The Trojans eventually broke the deadlock at the end of the second quarter, ironically through a passing play, before going on to score the games only other touchdown in the second half.

Read more…

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

JACKSONVILLE SHARKS 67, COLUMBUS LIONS 43
Semifinals

The Columbus Lions couldn’t overcome their demons, falling to their rival Jacksonville in the semifinal game 67-43. With the loss, the Lions’ hope of reaching a third consecutive NAL Championship comes to a halt.

Columbus would strike first after causing a fumble on the opening kickoff and quarterback Bryan Hicks sneaking in for a touchdown. But after the Sharks and Mike Fafaul answered back with a touchdown pass to Durron Neal, Hicks would throw a pick six deep in Jacksonville territory, returned by Markus Smith to put the Sharks up 16-6. Although Ulric Jones would pouce on a fumble for a touchdown and Hicks found his way into the endzone late in the 2nd quarter, Jacksonville would enter the half with a 37-22 lead.

Read more…

CAROLINA COBRAS 30, MASSACHUSETTS PIRATES 36
Semifinals

In what was a battle of the #2 and #3 offenses, this was a total defensive struggle as the two teams combined for just 56 points, there were five total turnovers, eight combined sacks, and multiple times where teams were stopped on downs. The great news is that the Carolina Cobras (10-5) prevailed,

beating Massachusetts Pirates (8-7) by a score of 30-26 and will advance to face the winner of the Columbus Lions vs Jacksonville Shark game (Tuesday), for the NAL Championship on August 17, 2019, the location has yet to be determined.

This was a sloppy game on the offensive side of the ball for both teams as the defenses dominated. The Cobras got the ball and drove down the field, only to be turned over on downs as QB Charles McCullum was sacked on fourth down. The Pirates were not able to answer as they too turned it over on downs. On the next Cobras drive Jordan Jolly fumbled and turned it back over to the Pirates. This time the Pirates capitalized, with a 20-yard pass from QB Sean Brackett to Rannell Hall for the score. With the PAT it was 7-0 Pirates and that is how we ended the first quarter.

Read more…

(Thanks to Oursportscentral.com, American Football International and Gridiron Developmental Football League for these stories.  Please go to their sites and support them.)

New York, Indianapolis, Dallas and San Diego seek AUDL title

audlThis weekend will be the final four in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) as the New York Empire, Indianapolis Alley Cats, Dallas Roughnecks and San Diego Growlers play for the championship at San Jose, California.

The champions of the Midwest and South will join the New York Empire and San Diego Growlers in San Jose on August 10-11 weekend. The teams have been re-seeded as follows: New York Empire (1), San Diego Growlers (2), Dallas Roughnecks (3), Indianapolis AlleyCats (4).

The Empire and AlleyCats will go head to head in the first semifinal game on Saturday, August 10 at 4:00 PM/PT. Then the Roughnecks will take on the Growlers immediately following the first game at 7:00 PM/PT. The championship game will be played by the two semifinal winners on Sunday, August 11 at 12:00 PM/PT.

San Diego defeated Los Angeles 25-21 for the West Division title to make their first appearance in the final four.  San Diego is led by Travis Dunn who is a five-year veteran who notched 33 goals this season along with 48 assists.

New York, the only undefeated team in the finals, edged the Toronto Rush 19-16 for the East Division title.  This is New York’s second trip to championship weekend.  The Empire lost to Toronto in the 2014 semifinals.   The key player for New York is Ben Jagt.  In 12 regular season games, he has scored 54 goals with 54 assists and an average of nine goals per game.

Dallas advanced to their fourth straight finals with a 21-17 win over the Raleigh Flyers in the South Division final.  The Roughnecks lost to Madison in last year’s championship game.  They last won the title in 2016.  Jay Froude leads Dallas with 18 blocks in 12 career playoff games.  Froude is the only player at the 2019 final four who will be competing in his fifth consecutive Championship Weekend, the first two of which came as a member of the Madison Radicals.

Indianapolis punched their ticket to the finals after defeating the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds 23-17 to represent the Midwest Division.  The Alley Cats are in the finals for the first time since the AUDL’s first season in 2012.  They lost to the Philadelphia Spinners 29-22 in the championship game.  Indy will look to Keegan North and Travis Carpenter to lead them to the title.  Carpenter led the Alley Cats with 56 assists.