WAIT!

waitThat’s a four-letter word.  I don’t like it.  Waiting isn’t an easy thing to do when you see the goal you want to reach.  Being still and patient takes a lot of discipline.  I haven’t always been good a waiting.

So what’s up with waiting?  Is it a game that God plays with us?

Many thoughts go through you mind when you are put on hold. Believe me…I  have been in many holding patterns during my lifetime.  In the end, after that waiting has passed and I look back on it I see why I had to wait.  Instead of doing what I thought should be done I usually see how it was better that God worked it out HIS way instead of mine.  I’m sure He gets a good laugh from my plans.

I still don’t like waiting and I never will.

Psalm 27:14 tells us to “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

I can love that verse and quote it all day long unless I’m having to live it.   I have to remind myself of past times of waiting.  I also have to caution myself about making things happen or trying to take matters into my own hands.  Hopefully I have learned how I have either messed up or delayed things longer.   Sometimes you just have to do the hard things to get to the end.

I always quote the Apostle Tom Petty (I’m kidding of course) when he sang “The waiting is the hardest part.”   There is no way to describe the feeling when the wait is over and your answer has come.  In our time of instant communication, instant food and instant conveniences, we are not always capable of having a good attitude when we are forced to wait.

In case you wondered, I am in a position where I am waiting.  My wife and I both are trying to keep positive during this time of waiting.  I may not show it but I have a lot of mental hand wringing going on in my mind about the situation.  It is a situation where I have absolutely no control and all we can do about it is wait.   It’s in these times I try to remind myself of past experiences.  He’s the same God.  We don’t know what He’s doing or why He’s doing it but obviously there is a reason for it.  My feeling right now is that it has to do with timing.  This situation is also dependent upon other people and God isn’t going to force them to do what they don’t want to do.  Pieces have to be moved around and timing is crucial.

You know I would love just to know what’s going on.  I think that’s what makes waiting so hard.  We don’t see what’s going on or how much longer we have to wait.   I suppose that’s why He’s God and I’m not.

I’m sure Job would have liked to know when his suffering was going to end.  I know that Joseph would have liked to know he would eventually be released from prison.  These guys didn’t have the luxury of knowing the whole story like we do now when we read about them in the Bible.  They simply continued trusting God and believing that He would come through for them.

So I wait.  I wonder what will happen next.  Will we reach the goal or will it be changed to something else?  The unknown is scary.  Having no control over the situation makes me anxious but I take heart and only do what I can do.  That’s all we can do when we are waiting.

If you are waiting on something and feeling anxious, hang in there.  Don’t forget to remind yourself of past experiences when God came through for you.  It’s so easy to focus on what we need now and not what God has done before.   What He has done before helps our faith for what we are going through now.

I never like the waiting part but somehow it always works out.

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I Had A Milt-down

Yep, today was it. The last straw. The button was pushed.

I had a meltdown. Don’t worry, it wasn’t an epic meltdown but I had reached my limit.

Work will do it to you, especially a week when you faced emergencies and resolving time critical issues. The problem in these situations were usually the lack of preparation on someone else’s part which then became my problem.

In the end, I didn’t hold my tongue and I said exactly what I was thinking. I didn’t attack anyone personally but I was certainly unfiltered in addressing the situation.

Sometimes you just have to speak up. I did and I don’t feel bad about it. I think people expect too much without considering what they are asking and their responsibility in preparation.

Failure to plan is planning to fail.

Yeah that’s a nice cutesy quote but people rarely adhere to it. If there’s one thing I truly hate is when people fail to plan something and then dump it in someone’s lap to execute. That’s pretty crappy.

I have always been able to perform under pressure in the hot seat but I also like being prepared. Unforeseen things happen and I understand that but I also think you can prepare for your expectations. Do what you can do. I like to plan and carry out that plan.

Sometimes you just have to let people know about it. Don’t say “it’s okay” when it’s not okay. Don’t say “no problem” when it is indeed a problem. I have learned that if you never speak up that you will enable people to continue the same behavior in what they are doing thinking it is okay.

Yes, I spoke up today and I vented my unhappiness with the situation. You can still get angry without attacking or go on a profanity-filled rant. Sometimes people need to be told.

I reached my limit this week so I am mentally regrouping in my safe place. My wife is my safe place. She gets me. She would fight for me. When you have a meltdown, you have to regain your perspective about what truly is important. This gives us a chance to take a breath and refocus.

My Milt-down has calmed now.

AAF Week 7: First Overtime & First Playoff Spot Clinched

wolford
John Wolford Leads Arizona To A Big Win

Week 7 of the first season of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) had a little bit of everything.  Just when you thought you had seen all the first of the new league, this week gave us a few more.

ORLANDO APOLLOS 36, ATLANTA LEGENDS 6

Led by running back De’Veon Smith’s three rushing touchdowns, Orlando beat the Atlanta Legends to clinch the first spot in the Eastern Conference championship game.  Any hope of a close game disappeared in the second half, when Atlanta turned the ball over twice to end promising drives. The first came in the third quarter, when Apollos cornerback Deji Olatoye intercepted a pass from Legends quarterback Aaron Murray and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown to give Orlando a commanding 28-6 lead.  Murray threw another interception on the Legends’ next possession, to cornerback Cody Riggs at the Apollos’ goal line.  Garrett Gilbert added a touchdown pass to wide receiver Charles Johnson in the fourth quarter.

Next:

  • Orlando at Memphis
  • Atlanta at Birmingham

MEMPHIS EXPRESS 31, BIRMINGHAM 25 (ot)

With all the hype surrounding the signing of Johnny Manziel, it was Memphis Quarterback Brandon Silvers who led the Express to their second win of the season Sunday night against the Birmingham Iron in the first overtime game in AAF history.  Silvers went 24-for-35 passing for 266 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner to wide receiver Dan Williams on a 10-yard slant in overtime.  The Memphis Express scored the final 17 points of the game after trailing 25-14 with 9:01 left in regulation. The performance of Silvers, the Express defense getting pressure on Iron quarterback Luis Perez and big plays on special teams carried Memphis to its second win of the season.  The momentum of the game started to change late in the third quarter when DeMarquis Gates blocked an Iron punt and defensive back Terrell Bonds ran it back 50 yards for the touchdown. It was the first blocked punt and blocked punt touchdown in the history of The Alliance.

Next:

  • Memphis will host Orlando
  • Birmingham will host Atlanta

SAN ANOTNIO COMMANDERS 19, SALT LAKE STALLIONS 15

Trey Williams’ 36-yard touchdown reception and Greg Ward Jr.’s two-point conversion catch with less than six minutes left gave San Antonio the win over Salt Lake in front of an Alliance-record 30,345 fans at the Alamodome. Williams took a short pass from reserve quarterback Marquise Williams – who entered the game in the fourth quarter for injured starter Logan Woodside – sprinted down the right sideline and leaped into the end zone for the go-ahead score. Marquise Williams then found Ward Jr. for a successful two-point conversion to put San Antonio up 17-9 with 5:29 left to play. On the ensuing possession, the Stallions drove 75 yards to make it a two-point contest after Terrell Newby’s 21-yard TD reception from Josh Woodrum on the first play following the two-minute warning. Salt Lake had a chance to tie the score on the two-point try but De’Vante Bausby stepped in front of Woodrum’s pass in the left flat and returned it untouched to make it 19-15.

Next:

  • San Antonio hosts Arizona
  • Salt Lake hosts San Diego

ARIZONA HOTSHOTS 32, SAN DIEGO FLEET 15

Behind Hotshots quarterback John Wolford, Arizona emerged from a back-and-forth first half with a slight lead and pulled away with a fourth-quarter surge to defeat San Diego, 32-15, on Sunday afternoon at Sun Devil Stadium. The victory pushed the Hotshots (4-3) into second place in the Western Conference — a game behind San Antonio (5-2) — and into fourth place in the league with four postseason spots up for grabs. San Diego felWolford completed an efficient 15 of 19 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns to one pick, while adding 44 yards and a touchdown on five carries. Rashad Ross, a stellar receiver all season for Arizona, had three catches for 53 yards.

Next:

  • Arizona at San Antonio
  • San Diego at Salt Lake

AAF STANDINGS:

Eastern Conference

  • Orlando Apollos (6-1)
  • Birmingham Iron (4-3)
  • Memphis Express (2-5)
  • Atlanta Legends (2-5)

Western Conference

  • San Antonio Commanders (5-2)
  • Arizona Hotshots (4-3)
  • San Diego Fleet (3-4)
  • Salt Lake Stallions (2-5)

AAF NEWS AND NOTES:

  • The AFF is moving its championship game from Las Vegas to Frisco, Texas. The new eight-team spring league said last week that the April 27 title game will switch to The Ford Center at the Star, which is owned by Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys and is the indoor practice arena for the team.
  • Johnny Manziel’s first game in the AAF with the Memphis Express drew solid TV ratings. Over 250,000 tuned in for Manziel’s game against the Birmingham Iron on the NFL Network. Johnny Football slung it for 48 yards and rushed for 20 yards coming in off the bench in the winning effort for Memphis.
  • Tom Dundon, who just injected $250 million into the Alliance in February. Speaking with USA Today Sports, Dundon, the owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, said the start-up league could be in danger of folding without the cooperation of the NFLPA in acquiring young talent. “If the players union is not going to give us young players, we can’t be a development league,” Dundon said. “We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league.”

 

Things That Make Me Go…hmmmm

hmmmEver have those things in life that make you wonder?  I do.  Like when you park away from other cars in the parking lot and someone ALWAYS parks right next to you.  What’s up with that?

I don’t know.  Some things just boggle my mind.  Things like personal space.  Some people get wayyyy to close.  I have stood in lines at the post office and other public places and the person behind me is so close that I can feel their breath on my neck.  I don’t get that at all.

I also don’t know why guys want to talk to you when you are doing your business in the bathroom either.  That’s not what I consider a social place.

Traffic makes me go hmmmm a LOT.  This week I was driving to work when suddenly another driver jerks into my lane.  No looking.  No signal.  Suddenly he’s there and I had to slam on my brakes to keep from hitting him.   When I passed him later he seemed to be totally oblivious to the accident he was nearly involved in.  Okay, let’s go over this again….check your blind spot, USE YOUR TURN SIGNAL, safely change lanes.   Of course none of this applies to Nashville drivers — EVER.

Yeah, let’s don’t get me started on traffic or this will turn into a traffic blog.

How about just plain people walking?  I had three near misses in the hallway this week when people bolted out of rooms without looking to see if anyone was in the hall.  One guy just barreled out of the men’s room and I nearly pulled a groin stopping so as not to hit him.  He never looked back and walked on.

Call me crazy but I don’t think they should allow food or drinks during a Broadway show.  This isn’t the movie theatre and it sure isn’t your personal living room although people act like it.  I just think going to a show has a little more class than that.

There is one rug that our cat insists on attacking on a daily basis.  Not sure what’s going on there.

Why is it that slackers at work seem to get a free pass?

One of my least favorite things in life is selling or buying a house or car.  This never seems to be an easy process.

I’m not expecting the Nashville Predators to go very far in the playoffs.  They have been very frustrating and inconsistent this year.  They were so close to winning the Stanley Cup two years ago but I don’t expect them to get out of the first round of the playoffs this year.

I like this new football league – the Alliance of American Football.  I hope it can survive.

For the first time in years, I haven’t filled out a bracket for March Madness.  I haven’t watched a single college basketball game this season.

The Nashville Zoo has improved a lot since my wife and I moved here in 2014.  They are adding a new tiger exhibit next month.

Why is it not okay to express your opinion about something without others attacking you?  It seems that it’s okay to have opinion unless it is different from others.

Let me give you some advice…do not friend co-workers on Facebook.

Do you notice how impatient people are today?  Nobody wants to wait in lines and no one wants to be kind to others.  It’s either the food we eat or our phones that is affecting interaction with other people.

Speaking of phones…isn’t it amazing how we can live without them now?

If you are out in public today, count how many people are looking at their phones.

Lifeway Christian stores announced that they are closing all of their “brick-and-mortar” stores.  They are going to focus more on their online sales.  I guess I can understand this but I still like going into bookstores and touching books.

The calendar says it is spring but I’m waiting for the weather to get onboard with that.

I’ve been vegetarian/vegan since the beginning of the year and I haven’t gone hungry yet.  Since the change, I can’t help but wonder why we drink cows milk?  Who started that?

Just some things that make me go….hmmmm.

 

 

 

Orlando Suffers First Loss In AAF

week6
Hotshots Bring Down Apollos in Week 6

Through five weeks into the inaugural season of the Alliance of American Football (AAF), it looked like Steve Spurrier’s Orlando Apollos were unbeatable.  In week 6 they were beaten.  Here’s a recap of the games from Week 6:

Arizona Hotshots 22, Orlando Apollos 17

The Hotshots reminded the Apollos that no one was perfect as they held the Apollos to a season-low 17 points as the offense never really got on track.   The Hotshots were the ones calling the shots on offense, especially on the ground.  Tim Cook had 11 carries for 71 yards, Jhurell Pressley ran for 57 yards and Justin Stockton added 37 yards which wore down the Apollos’ defensive line while controlling the line-of-scrimmage.  Arizona was 2-of-2 in the red zone.  The win snaps the Hotshots’ three game losing streak.

Next:  Orlando plays at Atlanta, Arizona hosts San Diego.

Salt Lake 22, Memphis 9

Salt Lake started out strong offensively in the opening quarter jumping to an early 16-0 lead at the hands of QB Josh Woodrum completing an 11-yard touchdown pass to TE Nick Truesdell on the game’s opening drive. Continuing with the league’s highest 2-point conversion rate, Woodrum capitalized the drive when hitting WR Jordan Leslie for the two-point conversion.  Salt Lake continued with their first quarter flurry by capping off a 44-yard scoring drive with a 14-yard touchdown from Woodrum to TE Anthony Denham. RB Terrell Newby caught a pass from Woodrum to convert their second consecutive two-point conversion to take a 16-0. Following a key defensive stop following on a surprise Memphis fake-punt, K Taylor Bertolet kicked a 26-yard field goal to put the Stallions up 19-0.

Next:  Salt Lake travels to San Antonio, Memphis hosts Birmingham

San Antonio 37, Atlanta 6

The San Antonio Commanders scored early and never trailed as they defeated the Atlanta Legends 37-6 in front of 10,619 at Georgia State Stadium. The Commanders (4-2) set a season-high in points by scoring 37, and the defense matched its best performance of the year by holding the Legends (2-4) to just six points.  The San Antonio defense led the way by forcing four turnovers, marking the third straight week with three or more turnovers. De’Vante Bausby, Zack Sanchez and Derron Smith all tallied an interception and Duke Thomas recovered a fumble in the victory. Offensively, Logan Woodside completed 17 of his 23 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns – one to Mekale McKay and another to Evan Rodriguez.

Next:  San Antonio will host Salt Lake, Atlanta is at home against Orlando

Birmingham 32, San Diego 29

Quarterback Luis Perez came off the bench for injured starter Keith Price and threw three touchdowns, and he led a final drive that ended with Nick Novak’s 43-yard game-winning field goal as time expired to lift the Birmingham Iron to a victory over the San Diego Fleet at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego. The win ends Birmingham’s two-game losing streak.

Next:  Birmingham plays at Memphis, San Diego is at Arizona.

AFF News and Notes:

  • Johnny Manziel has joined the Memphis Express.   There has been no indication on when Manziel might see his first action in the AAF.
  • The Birmingham Iron’s front office has undergone a midseason shake-up.  Iron President Tom Ward and Vice President for Marketing Randy Campbell are no longer with the team. It’s unclear if they were fired or left the organization voluntarily.
  • Offensive player of the week: Birmingham WR L’Damian Washington. Washington had four receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns in The Iron’s 32-29 week six win. The performance marks team single-game records in receiving yards and touchdown catches, while Washington became the first player in Alliance history with at least 125 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions in the same game.
  • Defensive player of the week: Salt Lake DE Karter Schult. Schult tallied five total tackles, two sacks and four QB hits in The Stallions’ 22-9 victory last week. Schult, who leads The Alliance with seven sacks this season, anchored a Salt Lake defense that held Memphis to nine points and 239 total yards while racking up seven team sacks in the win.
  • Special teams player of the week: San Antonio PR Greg Ward, Jr. Ward, Jr., a highly-accomplished quarterback at the University of Houston before transitioning to wide receiver/returner after college, set an Alliance record with a 79-yard punt return-touchdown in The Commanders’ 37-6 win in week six.

AAF Standings:

Eastern Conference

  • Orlando Apollos (5-1)
  • Birmingham Iron (4-2)
  • Atlanta Legends (2-4)
  • Memphis Express (1-5)

Western Conference

  • San Antonio Commanders (4-2)
  • San Diego Fleet (3-3)
  • Arizona Hotshots (3-3)
  • Salt Lake Stallions (2-4)

 

 

Minnesota Whitecaps Win Isobel Cup With Thrilling Finish

isobelMinnesota’s Lee Stecklein scored 49 seconds into overtime to give the Whitecaps a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Beauts in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) championship final.  The Isobel Cup win comes in Minnesota’s first season in the NWHL.

The game was a defensive battle with both teams scoring goals in the first period.  The Beauts got the first one on a power play goal by Emily Pfalzer.  Minnesota tied it up just 1:22 later when Amy Menke scored on a breakaway.  The goaltenders shut down opposing offenses the rest of regulation.  Amanda Leveille made 22 saves for the Whitecaps while Nicole Hensley made 28 saves playing for the injured Shannon Szabados.  This was the first time since the NWHL switched to a single-elimination playoff system that the final has gone into overtime to be decided.

The Isobel Cup Final was played at TRIA Rink in Minnesota which was the tenth consecutive sellout for the Whitecaps.

Minnesota finished first in the regular season with a 12-4-0 record then defeated the Metropolitan Riveters 5-1 in the semifinals.  Buffalo finished the NWHL season in second place with an 11-4-1 record and shut out the Boston Pride 4-0 in the semifinals.   This was Buffalo’s fourth straight appearance in the final.  They won the cup in 2017.

The Isobel Cup is the championship trophy awarded to the NWHL champions.  It is named after Lady Isobel Gathorne-Hardy who was one of the first known women to play the game and daughter of Lord Stanley.  The National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup is named after Lord Stanley.

Pride: Kryptonite To Answered Prayer

obstacleIf you have ever prayed for someone you can understand how difficult it can be to get that prayer answered.  It is especially difficult if you have strife with someone.  There is no prayer you can pray that will impose your will on someone else.  I have had to do this many times and I can tell you from experience that praying for people is the most difficult thing a believer can do.  It will seriously wear down your faith.

The problem is pride.

There is no doubt that God can answer prayer but He will not force anyone to do anything.   People have free will to make their own decisions.  Although God won’t make someone respond to your prayer He can make someone wish they had.

If there is one thing I can tell you from experience – don’t give up.   I know it becomes repetitive and you can go days, months or years without seeing any progress whatsoever but eventually something can happen.

Most recently for me I reconciled with my dad shortly before his death.  Before that last month of his life, we had gone almost eight years without speaking.  When my mother passed away, I thought he had shut the door on us forever.   But…..I kept praying for him and me.  I had to pray for myself just as much as I did for him.  If I wanted God to answer my prayer and reconcile me and my dad I had to be ready for it.  My heart and mind had to be prepared to forgive and let things go.  That’s hard.  I won’t lie.  I had a hard time with that.  I had this ritual every morning on my first walk to my work location that I prayed for him and me.  Some days is was the same worn out prayer every day and some days I was quite angry about the situation.  I didn’t understand it and  I vented to God about it.

Let me tell you that my dad was a stubborn man and set in his ways.  I prayed that God would soften his heart towards me.  There are some days I was just ready to write him off.  “I’m done!” I would say.   Praying for someone isn’t always so glamorous.  It’s hard work.

Still I managed to pray through the situation where it looked like nothing was happening.   I prayed through my own anger and frustration.  I can even remember times I would have a profanity-filled tantrum about it.  God understood.

I wrote letters and sent cards which were never answered.   Still I kept praying.  I would get aggravated with myself because it was the same prayer and I was bored with it but God knew my heart in the matter.

Shortly before my wife and I went on a trip, I felt like writing him again.  I wrestled with doing so but the thought that kept going through my mind repeatedly was this:  “It is never wrong to do the right thing” so I wrote him a letter and put it in the mail.  When I picked up our mail upon our return, I received a handwritten letter from him.  He apologized for everything and wanted to see me.  As I stood there reading that letter I could hardly believe what I was reading.  After all of the time that had passed, my prayer was finally being answered.  It was a weird feeling.  I can’t say that I was overjoyed but it took a while to sink in.  Then I wondered:  Was I ready for this?  I struggled with this thought.  Could I possibly let everything go and press on?

When I called him for the first time, he gave me details about his medical problems which were very serious.  He told me that he had bladder cancer and was scheduled to have his bladder removed the week of Thanksgiving and wanted me to be there.  He was also having issues with something called Pulmonary Fibrosis.  He had just finished his last chemo treatments for the bladder cancer and little did we know at the time that these treatments had made his Pulmonary Fibrosis worse.  When my cousin called to inform me that he had been admitted to ICU in Gainesville, Florida weeks before his bladder removal, I decided to go down and be with him.  He passed away a week later due to complications from the Pulmonary Fibrosis.  In that time we had together, were able to talk and we made most things right.  Some things we couldn’t but I will always be grateful for the time we had.

If you saw the movie “I Can Only Imagine”, I felt like I lived that movie with my own father.  It was tough.

Yes, God answered my prayers but you never know how that answer will come or how it will be.  Being an impatient person, it is agonizing for me to sustain prayer for something or someone for this long.  I tell you that you get weary with it.  Fed up with it.  You want to give up.  But God understands more than you think He does and He sustains you even when the prayer gets stale and boring.  I can tell you that some days I just honestly ran out of words to pray about it.

I have now heard people tell me about how Dad was wearing down and being drawn toward reconciling with me.  Pride was the barrier that kept it from happening sooner than it did.  It’s hard to pray against someone’s pride and resistance.  I did that and I was blessed that God finally broke through to my dad’s heart to let me back in.

So how did I do it?  I didn’t do it by prayer alone.  I also had a wife that encouraged me and reminded me that I had done everything I could do.  She had to remind me to not blame myself.

If you think I’m some kind of super intercessory prayer warrior like that Miss Clara in “The War Room” you would be seriously mistaken.  I was nowhere close to being like that.  The only thing I can tell you is that I never gave up.  I may not have had papers pinned up in a prayer closet somewhere but I always had the prayer for him.   I also had several songs which encouraged me as well.  I salute the song writers out there who put words to these songs that encourage us.  Many of them are still on my playlist.  Here are those songs:

  • Gather At The River by Point of Grace
  • God Is In Control by Twila Paris
  • It’s Not Over (When God Is In It) by Israel Houghton & New Breed
  • Jesus Is by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
  • Made Me Glad by Hillsong
  • Never Been A Moment by Micha Tyler
  • Overcomer by Mandisa
  • Warrior by Steven Curtis Chapman

Although I wish the prayers had broken through his pride sooner so we could have had more time, I am still very thankful that I had that last week with my dad.  It wasn’t a Hollywood ending but it was good way to end when he said his last words:  “Beam me up Scotty”.   I think he was finally ready.

So, yes, praying through someone’s pride is difficult but not impossible.  Galatians 6:9 tells us “Let us not be weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.”

Don’t give up.  Keep praying.