Purpose Is A Myth

As a member of the human race we get so wrapped up in the concept of  Purpose…or at least I do anyway.

Who am I supposed to be?  What am I supposed to do?  And all this while calling it the will of God…

I am afraid I am missing the point with these deep, life-changing questions of myself… I am not to be looking for the fabulous being I will become or the higher purpose I will achieve in the future – a shiny image of myself with the world and God doting over me, but rather – God is concerned with the now and the small ways I treat the people all around me.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Everyone we encounter is fighting a battle we know nothing about – always be kind!!

Its time to get over fulfilling our purpose, even in the name of God, and start simply living for Him in the ways of everyday life.  We are called to fulfill His purpose, not ours.  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”  Romans 8:28.  Those small gestures will become a way of life that may or may not leave our names on the lips of others but who cares – we are who God says we are – NOTHING else matters! “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord…Jeremiah 29:11.

Also, God doesn’t always reveal things to us in our time.  This is hard when we feel unsure about God’s purpose for us, but its important to trust in His plan and His timing. You see, He planned these things out long before we even knew…the Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

A final thought – Never compare your work to someone else’s.  If we all served God in the same way then we would not accomplish much for his kingdom would we?  Each of us has the ability in our daily lives to reach someone that no one else can…and we may not even know it!

Happy Monday Ya’ll!

Welcoming This New Season

I’m making it official…I am back from my blogging hiatus…again!!  It’s not that I haven’t thought about my blog almost daily, it is just that I have been too busy surviving this crazy life to write about it! That, and basketball season, a new job and life in general, has had me distracted!  So, here we go…bear with me as I get back in the saddle and remember how this thing works!!

I have had this blog 2 years now and can honestly say that its really difficult to blog consistently when I have my paying job and life to live at the same time!  But…I love it so much!  SO, my promise to myself, 3 months into this year…BLOG!  And do it as consistently as possible!

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Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

It is truly amazing what a weekend of sunshine can do for you!  As we enter back into our cold, gray world after a weekend excursion to a volleyball tournament at Myrtle Beach I am energized and feeling hopeful and determined in my spiritual life, our home, my physical fitness, everything!!!  I’m ready to kick start this spring and new year!  Yes, I know its March…and my first blog post of 2019…I’m a little behind but that’s ok, the sun is FINALLY shining!

Let’s talk about some GOALS for this new season!  Since I missed resolution season and I always screw those up anyway….lets just go with GOALS:

  1.  Say YES to God!  Focus less of my life and more on the lives of those around me, whether its holding a door and giving a smile in an everyday activity or finding ways to make this life better for a friend or complete stranger my answer will be YES in faithfulness!
  2. Gain control over my home and calm the chaos!  Last year I started out on a real roll!  I organized and cleaned and truly started the year out in a place of joy and renewal in our tiny home…and then Team Gunter had some life-changing events over the summer that ushered my blogging hiatus and turned our home upside down – literally and figuratively!  I have not been able to gain control since but I am determined!  SO, pray along with me; I am a pretty sucky Proverbs 31 woman but I’m gonna start working on it!
  3. Love this life we have been given and show gratitude for every moment of it!  I all too often find myself in a pity party for things in life that I am not exactly happy about…without even noticing how ridiculous that is (see Goal #1).  We have so much to be thankful for and its time to start showing it!

 

Mom Life – Are You A Mary or A Martha??

As women in today’s world we take the word “busy” to a whole new level!  In a life full of distractions and a society with a constant sense of “more” it is so easy to be swept up in the details of living everyday life that we miss the important parts!!  Today is the day we ask ourselves:  Are you a Martha or a Mary?

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We began a women’s bible study in my church last night from a series called “Living Life Together.”  First of all let me say that for as many years as I have considered myself a Christian, with the exception of a brief summer youth group experience, I have never really participated in a bible study group!  So, this was a first for me, and had this been a month ago I would have told you that I was too busy to participate in a bible study on Wednesday evenings!  Occasionally it is refreshing to be wrong!!

The study began by chronicling the busy lives of women and how easy it is to become so preoccupied with the aspects of surviving the day to day of our very full lives that we step away from what is truly important.

In Luke 10:38-42 the bible chronicles the story of Mary and Martha, two sisters who learn that Jesus has come to their village and will visit their home!  As he arrives and is welcomed into the home, Mary simply sits at his feet – listening to Him and worshiping Him.  Meanwhile, Martha goes about the tasks of entertaining the Lord! Eventually, Martha becomes upset that Mary was of no help whatsoever with Jesus as their dinner guest! Martha finally breaks down and asks Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me!”

Now, most of us are cheering Martha on at this point right?  Help a girl out already! Its not everyday that the Lord is sitting in your living room – it needed to look like the pages of Southern Living or Better Homes and Gardens up in there!

The Lord’s response:  “Martha, you are troubled about many things, but only ONE THING is needed, and Mary has chosen the good part which shall not be taken away from her.”

The pastor in the country church I grew up in would say… “Ouch and Amen”

Are you a Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus, focusing on Him and the truly important things in life, or a Martha, being so busy entertaining and paying attention to the details that you miss the big picture — THE LORD IS IN YOUR HOME!  Put down the dish rag and go hang out with Him already!!!

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Jesus was telling Martha that while it is important to serve, developing and nurturing a personal relationship with the Lord should be above all else.  In order to do that we must be completely present with Him – not just in the same room, busying around doing menial tasks!

This concept follows through to our families as well!  The title “Mom” also encompasses the role of problem-solver, mentor, housekeeper, cook, laundress, income-provider, psychologist, doctor, grounds keeper, maintenance worker, travel planner, and occasional veterinarian!  With all these roles it is easy to be CONSUMED with the multitude of things your family “needs” and at the same time, completely neglect spending time with our children and significant others.  I mean real, quality time here folks – not just being in the same room!  Be TOTALLY present!  Ouch and Amen again!

It is time we all be a little more like Mary – it is time to be with, instead to doing for!

Not that “doing for” is bad, in fact we are still called to serve and frankly, that laundry isn’t washing itself.  The point that I think Jesus is conveying to us, especially us busy moms, wives and women in general, is not to become so concentrated on our precious To Do Lists that we lose sight of what is most important – Our TIME developing a personal relationship with not only the Lord but also our families and loved ones!

This life is all about people & relationships make the most of it!

We are on the eve of Memorial Day Weekend and I have been struggling all week to determine what adventure Team Gunter can get into next – our decision after much prayer and discussion with Husband and Elle:  hanging out in our backyard – TOGETHER!

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The Sisterhood of Mothers

“You were teaching me before I ever knew it…Welcoming me into the Sisterhood of Mothers”

Isn’t it amazing to be a woman!  I have had such a crazy few weeks between the everyday life of running my business and household, helping out with a women’s gathering at church, becoming an “auntie” again and Mothers Day; I am all sorts of charged up on the glorious state of being a woman and even more…a Mother!

In reflecting on the blessing of motherhood and of being a woman, whether you bear children or not, I am reminded of one incredible phrase…

“I am who my Creator made me to be…Worthy”  fb_img_15266087273901700557613.jpg

This past weekend made me want to celebrate and recollect on all the amazing women in my life who have helped to shape me into the person I am today.  Women that God put in my path that were examples of grace and compassion, strength and poise and most importantly, love.  I also gained a realization that my impact on other women , including my daughters and surrogate daughters (aka my basketball team), is of great importance and I count the opportunity as a pure blessing each and every day.  It is in fact their presence in my life that reminds me of the person I continue to strive to be, of who I believe my God has made me to be.  It is certainly a call to action or in some cases inaction!

20170506_1540192074152420.jpgI was raised by possibly the strongest  woman you can imagine.  She was gritty and tough when she needed to be. She maintained a career (even changed careers to better provide for my sister and I), developed a loving home, somehow managed to accomplish all the regular mom goals with two super active kids all by herself, taught us the importance of faith and raised my sister and I to truly believe that we could accomplish anything we put our minds to if we were willing to work for it!  It is quite remarkable thinking about how she managed everything….I can’t imagine functioning day to day without my Husband helping out!  Even more so, she lost her own Mother at a very young age to cancer; her support system and friend.  It makes me truly thankful to have the blessing of my Mother to be a presence in the lives of my children.  I gift for which I will be forever thankful.

I am also very grateful for other amazing women that I have come across at all stages in my life that impacted me in almost every way.  A grandmother that shared a love for simple pleasures like the miracle of growing flowers in your garden and great-grandmother who was not only an entrepreneurial pioneer in her small community but also the matriarch of our family and had no problem keeping my grandpa in line, even as a grown man.  The mothers of many of my friends in elementary school and high school who welcomed me into their homes and whom gladly would have cared for any need I had and knew my mother did the same for their daughters; one of which could also give a glare to us teenagers in the back pews of the church on Sunday morning that made everyone within its path take notice and start shouting “amen!” Our pastor’s wife in the small country church I grew up in that loved so deeply and shared an amazing relationship with her Husband; multiple teachers in the elementary and high school I attended that taught me passion for topics I was interested in and how to turn that passion into a career as well as the importance of social conscience – the tiny community in which I grew up knew how to take care of its members in times of joy and in the depths of despair. College friends who warm my heart by just keeping in touch and seeing this families grow!  My first “real” boss when I was straight out of law school was an outstanding mentor, she was accomplished yet humble, very poised and stringent with detail but also kind and caring, especially to those within her inner circle, and super supportive as I took the first steps of independence in my legal career. The ladies in my women’s group at church that I have only recently met, but have given me an outlet like no other, that brings me closer to God and the woman and mother I was meant to be each day just by being around them and sharing our crazy family stories or kid catastrophes! And finally, my own two daughters and basketball team, which I have had the true blessing to watch grow into amazingly wonderful young women and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them or how they will impact their communities, families and the world!

It is abundantly clear to me that being a woman is of great importance; even God ordained Mary to be the mother of the Savior and his supreme supporter even until the end.  Mary was trusting of God and his plan, courageous, strong in character, and accepting of her role in this life, even if it wasn’t easy or popular! Isn’t that what we as women strive to be; whether we are blessed with little tornadoes in our homes or not, we all have the ability to impact others around us in positive ways – and in the same ways God called Mary to impact the world.

So my friends, welcome to the Sisterhood of Mothers or maybe better put the Sisterhood of Strong, Courageous, Compassionate, Loving and Impactful Women…go forward and support the women in your life, love them, and be a woman whose presence will positively influence the lives of those around you.

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She’s Got Skills – How Female Athletes Prepare for Life Beyond the Gym

As we come to the conclusion of Christina’s first club volleyball season I find myself feeling very blessed for the amazing experience she had while a member of this team.  The players, coaches and parents were all extremely positive and as a result Christina grew as a person and athlete.  We are looking forward to her school season more than ever now!  As I reminisce about this spring and the fun we have had watching her play I am reminded of the important skills that female athletes possess that prepare them for life beyond the gym or field.

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time-management-3Its tough being a woman in this world!  We have careers, run households, raise children, volunteer and remain active in schools and our communities and do all this while trying to maintain a sense of self and reach our individual goals!  Doesn’t that sound exhausting?!?

When considering my own experiences as an athlete and now raising daughters and coaching other female athletes, I have come to understand how the skills female athletes cultivate on the volleyball court or other athletic arena can be the foundation of skills they will need to be productive and successful business-women, mothers and leaders of the future!

Teamwork – The ability to work with other women.  I have heard people in workplaces say time and time again that women do not work well together.  I find this statement utterly ridiculous!!  Women, just like men, are smart, creative and have the ability to work well with co-workers, regardless of their gender.  I do think though that an athlete understands the importance of a close connection with those in which she must rely upon to accomplish her goals.  Teamwork makes the dream work, baby!  And who better to understand the importance of that statement than a female athlete that has been battle tested and put through what seemed like unimaginable feats with her teammates.

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The ability to sacrifice for the good of others.  An athlete understands sacrifice – plain and simple.  She understands how to put her body on the line for her teammates that she loves.  She understands that achieving a goal may require her to sacrifice free time, social groups, physical appearance and a perfect manicure!  Being a woman in today’s society is no different – we sacrifice to grow our careers, we sacrifice for our families and we  give of ourselves for our communities.  Currently, I am so far beyond the need for a haircut that I can consider a new longer hairstyle; all because I have not had a free moment lately to hit the salon.  The demands upon my free time for my family, home,  law practice, basketball team, and now this blog are tremendous!  It seems like a norm though, as an athlete I was always giving up something for basketball or my teammates.  I learned that if I loved the game and my teammates it really wasn’t a sacrifice at all, but rather a labor of love and I never thought twice about it!

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We discovered just before we were set to leave for Christina’s last volleyball tournament that she was having pain in her knee that had become more than annoying!  We took her to an orthopedist who explained that her hamstrings were tight causing the pain on the inside of her knee.  Otherwise, she was cleared to play – as she could – which to any athlete means…”Yay! I’m cleared to play!”  And she did.  We could see her fighting through pain during games and applying ice and ibuprofen to aid in reducing inflammation in her knee between.  She was a trooper!  And while I never advocate for a parent to push a child to play if he or she is in pain; I understood the life lesson that this situation provided our 17 year old daughter.  Sometimes, life is tough and it hurts (either physically or emotionally) but we must push through for those that we love and in order to achieve our goals.  Had Christina chosen not to play last weekend (and the choice was hers), her team would have been VERY short-handed and may have had to drop out of the tournament.  Her decision to play through the pain and sacrifice her body showed maturity and love for her teammates.

The importance of positive communication.  I give a speech at the beginning of basketball season each year about positive communication.  I remind my players that one phrase, communicated with different inflection and body language could have polar opposite effects on the person hearing the statement.  My example:  “Come on ladies, you’ve got this!” versus “Come ooon ladies!” (insert eye roll and foot stomp).  One of those statements is encouraging to your teammates and co-workers while the other is condescending and dismissive.  Its a very similar statement that could change the entire momentum of the game or your relationship with your teammates.

As mothers, communication with our families is really no different.  A question to Husband…”Have you done the dishes today?” is nothing more than a question unless I am adding body language and emphasis on words that indicate my annoyance with him (Why haven’t you done the dishes today?)  Positive communication is so vital to any relationship – marital, familial, career-related or friendships and it is an often over-looked trait that needs to be properly developed…the power of positive communication!  Being part of a team requires CONSTANT communication with ones teammates and on successful teams that communication is always positive.  That is not to say that situations do not arise that require a leader to step up and energize their team by challenging them to preform better or work harder, but an effective leader has the ability to energize her team without tearing them down!

The understanding that improvement and achievement of goals requires time and dedication.  Most athletes understand that putting in minimal time and effort is not enough to truly achieve goals.  Successful teams contain athletes than have a desire to put in the TIME and WORK required to grow, improve and exceed their goals!  In the same respect, growth and success do not happen over-night.  A female athlete understand that both require her to be dedicated to her craft and to spend her free time in the gym or weight-room rather than at the mall or texting with friends

wp-15232857102221808897985.jpgAs adults, we come to understand that any goal we want to achieve will require us to give of our time and be dedicated to our cause.  Whether our focus is on advancing our career, raising healthy, happy and loving kids, fighting for a cause that we support or a little bit of all three we have to understand that advancement in ANY of these avenues WILL require that we give of our time and energy to see it through!  Why do you think us ladies NEVER have free time!!

Go with the flow and accept the challenge set before you.  When I made a plan to attend law school after I completed my undergraduate education I NEVER in my wildest dreams planned to do so with a brand new baby girl along for the ride!  BUT, that is exactly what happened.  I began my first year of law school 8 months pregnant and scared to death of motherhood  – who had time to stress about starting law school!  I had to dig deep within myself and recall times in which I had to play a position I was unfamiliar with or guard a player bigger and stronger than me.  I find every situation to be better if you can turn it into a basketball analogy!  So, I loaded up my new born baby and hit the books!  Now that she is 13 and I have been in the practice of law for many years, I hardly remember those hard times.  In fact, I laugh at the fact that while my classmates were freaking out over Contracts class our first year, I was just going with the flow and wondering if I had bought diapers or was out of baby formula!

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I am sure I could go on and on about the positive attributes athletics can provide to young women (and men) but I will wrap it up for today!  I loved every moment of being a female athlete and I am so happy that my daughters have had the ability to be a part of teams and garner these same positive experiences that will help to shape them into the young women that seem to be appearing before my very eyes!

Stepping Outside Our Holiday Comfort Zone

 

Confession:  I am a bit old fashion when it comes to holiday traditions and have been that way most of my life.  Holidays in our home are to maximize family time and celebrate the occasion with a church service followed by a big dinner with our extended family and friends – its the southern way!  Something will be fried and copias amounts of butter will be used in the preparation or consumption process!  It is just a way of life!

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This Easter however proved to be a bit of a challenge for this tradition -loving momma!  Our oldest daughter was scheduled to play in her last club volleyball tournament of the year on Easter weekend, in Myrtle Beach, six hours away from our beloved mountains, home church and family!!!  At first I didn’t give much thought to the tournament being set Easter weekend, I simply booked the hotel and sent the dates to everyone’s calendar.  But, as the weekend approached I began to stress about being “away” from our norm – and on Easter of all holidays!  Likely the most important Christian holiday of all!!!

pexels-photo-556758.jpegSo, I went into planning mode.  I knew we could celebrate the Resurrection of Christ pretty much anywhere; and the BEACH, its very existence on any day of the year is miraculous and the ocean seems to give re-birth to everything around it each new day so that was a no-brainer! And beach sunrises are amazing so what better way to have our very own sunrise service!

Also, our church broadcasts sermons the following day so I knew I wouldn’t miss out!

  But what about our other traditions?? What about the egg coloring and hunting?  The family, the dinner and the butter!!  Could I make the holiday special enough so that my family truly gave it the value it deserved while away from home!?!

Of course I could!  With the help and suggestions of a friend, a former Florida girl and expecting mother, I packed our suitcases armed with brightly colored sharpie markers for decorating sea shells in the place of eggs!!!  (I also found and packed some realistic looking plastic eggs that we could decorate if the shells didn’t work out!) This little project turned out WAY better than I could have ever imagined!  All of our “kids” enjoyed hunting and later decorating the sea shells with the markers I had packed.  It also gave our son something to do in the hotel room on Saturday morning while his sisters were getting ready to go to the gym!  Waiting on sisters to get ready for a couple hours can be exhausting on a little brother!

 The Easter Bunny was careful about selecting Easter basket gifts that were easy to stow away in a suitcase until Easter morning, or rather Saturday night!  We packed the sisters’ Easter bags with beach-friendly goodies; a new bathing suit, cheap sunglasses, and lip balm for Elle and eucalyptus muscle soak, a hair masque treatment and ibuprofen for Christina who would be playing volleyball all weekend!  Hayden’s Easter basket included a book, The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story, monster trucks (also very helpful for a little boy spending the greater part of a day under the bleachers of a volleyball tournament), and a chocolate bunny of course!

Now, dinner….what would I do about our Easter dinner and butter intake???  Easy! Stay an extra night and enjoy dinner on a rooftop restaurant with patio heaters and the women’s national championship basketball game on the television in the background!  It was a lovely evening, truly relaxing, not always the way I would describe dinners in this house! Also, we had plenty of butter on the steamed crab legs at shrimp!

As for our extended family and friends, of course we missed them terribly and have made plans to get together soon, but the time spent, just the five of us was priceless!  Maybe I won’t be so afraid of stepping out of my holiday comfort zone in the future…maybe!

5 Life Lessons We Learn from March Madness

If you haven’t figured it out from my previous posts on this blog…this family LOVES basketball season!  We watch, coach, play and live basketball from November to March and really most every month in between!  After-all, what’s not to love!?!  As with everything else in life, it truly comes down to what your viewpoint is and how you choose to perceive certain situations and when it comes to sports and basketball its all good stuff here baby!  In, fact Team Gunter believes that there are important life lessons that can be garnered from March Madness and we take this opportunity to share them with you!

1.  SIZE DOESN’T MATTER.  

University of Maryland – Baltimore County’s 5’8″ point guard, K.J. Maura, showed the nation that great basketball players do not need to be 6-footers!  In fact, Maura admits that 5’8 may be pushing it a bit!  He doesn’t believe that his size is a hinderance to his game, in fact he reported to the Washington Post that his size was actually an advantage.  “My size is an advantage because a lot of guys are taller than me and they don”t expect me to be pressuring the ball.”  Maura told Washington Post reporter Steve Reed in an article posted on March 17, 2018.

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You see, Maura and many other tenacious athletes like him understand that accomplishing goals in sports or any area of  life isn’t about appearance at all,  its about taking control of the controllables, thinking outside the box, and not being afraid to chase you dreams;  even if you don’t fit the traditional mold!  It’s not being afraid to be who you are and to recognize and use your God-given talents and attributes to excel in your sport or profession and to achieve your goals!  So, K.J. Maura may never dunk a basketball and swing from the rim like his 6’8 counter-parts but what he can do is play tenacious, pestering defense and use his petite stature to slice and dice past larger, bulkier defenders as the drives to the basket to defeat one of the top teams in the nation in a game that will go down in history!

2.  PLAY WITHOUT HESITATION – GO FULL OUT.

I am constantly telling my players and kids that my biggest pet-peeve is when they don’t do things “full out.”  To me, its a waste of energy to only give 75%.  Why stay in defensive stance for 3/4 of the court only to stand up and let someone drive around you on the baseline!?!  Why spend time cleaning up dinner and washing dishes if you aren’t going to wipe off the stove and counter – its still dirty – and the water is right there to clean it!?!

 

 

 

This year’s NCAA basketball tournament has boasted more upsets that a few from teams that would not have appeared to have been worthy on a paper bracket sheet.  But, no one told them that!  They showed up and played “their” game without hesitation against the very best teams in the country and shocked the nation!  On the other hand, there were plenty of “good” teams that either under-estimated their competition or for some other reason showed up on the big stage and didn’t give the 110% required to propel them to a win!

I am loving the stories of lower ranked teams that suited up, warmed up and stepped onto a floor in an arena that may have been much larger than they had ever played on before and played without doubt – what did they have to lose!?!  What if we played EVERY game that way?  What if we approached life that way?  Confident, assured in our preparation, trusting our teammates, respectful of the gravity of the situation but unaffected by the largeness of the moment – that my friends is when we are teams and individuals are UNSTOPPABLE!

3.  ITS THE LITTLE THINGS (CULTURE WINS).

I can already see my players rolling their collective eyes as I jump up on this soap box again!  Close-outs, Box outs, keeping your hands high and in passing lanes, hedging on screens, Peek and Powerful, constant communication with teammates….all the “little” things in basketball that aren’t really “little” at all.  In fact, this tournament proves that the teams who focus on and execute on the minute details are the ones on the top of the score board and moving forward in the bracket.  They are committed to their defensive concepts and offensive strategy put into place by their coaches and program and are executing it in a precise fashion, even in “big” games – stick with your culture my friends!

It was much to my dismay as I watched my beloved Vols fall to Loyola, my real upset…why were they running and jumping at shooters!?!  Had they forgotten how to close out!?!  Did they not realize that as they went flying by the offensive player for the fifth time in a row that the Loyola player simply did a head fake and drove to the bucket or shot after the flash of orange defender went flying into the bench behind them!  I will be a University of Tennessee fan until the end but come on guys….these are basic defensive concepts….they won’t shoot over you if you stay on the floor with your hands high!  I feel like Coach Barnes may have told them this a time or two!  Stay true to your culture and do better next year!

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I read an article this week by the Chicago Tribune about the Wall of Culture that Coach Moser of  Loyola Chicago instituted in their locker-room. Is a commitment to these phrases a key to their successful season and trip to the Elite Eight? It was certainly a powerful enough idea that I posed the question to my G-Girls and asked them to tell me what phrases would go on our wall?

The lesson…stay true to your culture and the little things that your coaches (and parents) believe make your program great!  Pay attention to details, I know you don’t want to hold your hands in the air on defense but it may be the difference in a passer taking the look over your head or them feeling as though this defense has completely shut them down and settling for a poor shot or turnover.  Also, pay attention to the culture of how you behave on your team and respond to your teammates – love them, be positive to them and hold them to the high standards set by your program.

4.  YOU CAN’T DO IT ALONE – TEAMWORK PREVAILS

What more can I say…this one speaks for itself!  You don’t see a single team in the NCAA tournament, men’s or women’s, that are doing it alone!  Basketball, just as life, is a team sport and to excel on the highest level you have to trust and rely on your teammates.  The even more important part of this lesson is that sometimes on a team you have to be the role player, distributing the ball to the hot hand of your teammate or taking the charge and other times, your teammates need you to take the ball to the rim!  It’s that balance that makes teams great!

5.  IT DOESN’T HURT TO HAVE GOD ON YOUR SIDE!

This tournament season, Sister Jean of Loyola Chicago has taught us that even on the court, a little prayer goes a long way! Further, her spirit and love for watching her team play its way through the tournament is refreshing.

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I don’t pray for wins…never have and never will! But faith plays such a strong role in every aspect of our lives, why shouldn’t it in sports as well.  I often pray that my players are safe and play with clear hearts and minds and fully enjoy the game and all the positive attributes that can come from being an athlete and playing this game that I have loved most my life! I believe that training can be largely spiritual, there is nothing like being in a gym alone…I used to have my best talks with God and get in the best workouts in those moments!  When testing your own limits physically, mentally and emotionally isn’t this a perfect time to be talking to God…absolutely!  He may show you things about yourself you never even imagined…giving all glory to Him of course!

So, there you have it….I could go on for days but I’ll try to contain myself.  I love athletics! I choose for athletic experiences to be positive lessons, even when we aren’t necessarily winning!  You can do the same for your teams and families too!  Keep looking for those positives!

 

 

Prayer Warrior Challenge

As a basketball coach I challenge my players to be in “Warrior Mode” every game!  To our team, that means going the extra mile, supporting your teammates more and, making additional concessions for your teammates and team culture!  Our prayer lives are really no different.

In the small country church I grew up in, my sister, who was not even old enough to drive at the time, would belt out a rendition of a 1989 song called “Prayer Warrior” by Heirloom that would bring the congregation to its knees…sometimes literally!  Every time I hear that phrase, “prayer warrior”, I think of those early days in my Christian life.  I was just a teenager in those days as well but it was in those times that I determined I wanted to be a Warrior!

I have been blessed with wonderful inspiration from friends on social media lately.  Last week a friend posted this on Facebook:

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What an amazing idea!  I could hear my sister’s voice and the music and see the hands of all the mothers and church ladies around me raised high in the air and I may have even said out loud…”Amen”!

Well, I am game for a good challenge! Not that I don’t pray for my family and friends and those around me in need everyday but this a little extra…this is “Prayer Warrior Mode”!  I challenge you my friends, fellow mothers and Christians to be Prayer Warriors….praying for those in your community that God puts on your heart, believing that God changes lives!  #watchGod.

Now, get to praying! And in case you need a little inspiration…I have included the link to “Prayer Warrior” by Heirloom.  (Note, that while this is a beautiful song…it sounds slightly different to me in my memories)!

Tell Me Something Good

As I was scrolling through my Facebook last night before bed I noticed a post by a friend that said:  “Tell me something good…”

Maybe it was the late hour, but this really got me to thinking about my perspective lately.  The last two weeks have been a little crazier than normal and I have struggled with a negative attitude.  I had recognized this negativity, which I think is largely fueled by being a little tired and trying to get into the swing of things in my office now that basketball season has ended…it doesn’t help that Husband has been out of town for training, making evenings at home more chaotic than usual! Not fully understanding how to work my way out of this funk I began praying about it this week and of course God always answers in the most wonderful ways…

My answer:  “Tell Me Something Good”

Reading through the comments of people I don’t even know about what made them happy this week caused an instant improvement of my mood and outlook on life!  Posts like “I’m off this weekend” or “School is on two hour delay tomorrow” made me happy too!  Other posts, like the one from a grandmother who was going to see her grandchildren for the first time in months, just continued to improve my perspective!  So much so I began thinking about what I intended to post – What made me happy this week?  What’s “good” that is going on around me? What will uplift others?

So here is my challenge… TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD!  Share this, comment and spread good vibes! You never know who you may be blessing just by posting about something that made you happy today!

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5 Reasons Why My Husband is Better Than Yours!

Ok, so this is a little subjective but humor me here!  I know that every faithful wife must feel this way and that’s fine with me, I won’t argue with you!  Nevertheless, my husband, John, is amazing; and I am not touting this as a newlywed with no idea what real life looks like…nope, I’ve lived with this man for almost 10 years!  Along with all the blissful good times, we have dealt with financial struggles, the ins and outs of raising children in a blended family, career changes, and even the loss of a child.  We are battle tested and have enjoyed more than one simple season of life together without driving each other completely crazy!

When reflecting on what makes us “work” I thought of so many positive attributes that my husband possesses that compliments our family and makes him the “best”.  But, I have narrowed it down a bit to specific instances that make him a superstar in our family!  It was a difficult task, but here it goes:

5.  He Does The Dishes Regularly And Without (Much) Complaint!

 

I give him major credit on this one!  I HATE doing the dishes!  We are a team and I try tirelessly to keep everyone in clean underwear and socks while John is happy to clean up the kitchen after dinner and wash the dishes that are not dishwasher safe; mainly because he knows that I will just stick that stuff in the dishwasher anyway, knowing it won’t get clean! The fact is that he does not love doing the dishes either but he scrubs them every day anyway because he knows I hate it!

4.  He Rescued Both of Our Dogs. 20170523_2241071308115395.jpg Don’t worry, I’m not leaving out his tremendous fatherly qualities in respect to our actual children.  It’s just when considering which of us would bring home stray pets, I would have put money on me any day of the week; but the truth is that John is not only the father to our 3 beautiful children but HE is the one that showed up in our driveway with a pitbull in the front seat of his work vehicle telling me that “he just could not leave her behind!”  I thought he was out of his mind bringing that dog to our house, he knew I would want to keep her! What business did we have with a pitbull anyway!?!  Little did I know that she would be snoring on the couch beside me while our Yorkie dozes on the headrest above my head, both bringing tremendous joy to my life!  You see, its his unselfish compassion, even for an animal that we had no real business keeping in our house, that makes this man so special!

3.  He Can Find His Way Around A Toolbox. pexels-photo-210881.jpeg I have full faith and belief that he can fix or build absolutely anything! In fact I have an entire Pinterest board entitled “Things I Want John to Make for Me.”  The truth is, that I volunteer him to “fix” way more projects around here than he is always comfortable attempting. He doesn’t complain though, he just researches whatever scheme I have put him up to and then goes to work!  As a result, we save a ton of money by doing things ourselves and we often learn new skills to complete tasks we never thought we could complete.  He proves to himself and to our kids that with a little more effort and elbow grease, nothing is impossible!

2.  He Has Converted to a Hard Core (Girls) Basketball Fan!  Eight years ago when our youngest daughter started recreational basketball and I had the big idea that I could coach the team; John told me that “we could not coach a basketball team”.  “I had no business coaching (I was pregnant at the time) and he knew nothing about basketball!” Fast forward 8 years, and I just completed my 3rd season as the girls varsity basketball coach at our local high school and our daughter was on the junior varsity team this year.  Actually, I have coached a team of some kind EVERY year since that first one 8 years ago!  And each year John takes a bigger and bigger role with my teams.  This season he was approved by the school board as an assistant coach!  He films games, discusses defenses, endures endless conversations about player rotations and offensive movement and has decided that he will be our new strength and conditioning coach this coming season!  Not to mention the fact that he probably watches 3-6 games per week, owns a Tennessee Lady Volunteer hat, follows along with the team on Twitter and even watches games on television!  He is officially hooked!  All of this from a football and baseball guy!  I often joke that we are Team Gunter but we truly are a team, even if that means finding interest in something the other loves!

And, here is it the #1 Reason My Husband is Better Than the Rest…

1.  I Prayed For Him And God Answered!  I was tired, my life had changed dramatically, and I felt as though I had finally overcome the obstacles standing in my way and with a ton of faith, I was standing on my own two feet again!  My prayer:  “God, if you have someone planned for me, please send him; otherwise, thank you for getting me to this place in my life, my daughter and I are doing well and I do not need anyone not sent by You.”  I was introduced to John a week later!  God is so faithful!

So, there it is…the top 5 reasons why I married the most amazing man around!  And a quick reminder that its really the “little” things in life, like cheering on a girls basketball team that mean the most in a marriage and in life!  Also, keep in mind that God always hears our prayers!

What traits make your spouse the best?  pexels-photo-236287.jpeg