Play Ball

#inspiration, guest blog, Kim Louise ClarkeToday we have a guest blog written by Kim Louise Clarke

Because my husband umpires, I have the opportunity to watch a lot of softball, which in turn provides a rich source of life lessons. Like the one the other day, when I watched the girl in left field miss a very catchable fly ball. She stumbled to retrieve the ball at her feet and threw it towards first base. But the throw was weak and much too late.

I felt sorry for her as I sat on the bleachers, eating my hotdog, content that I still had a chocolate bar to munch on, wondering how she could have missed the catch in the first place. Sitting and watching all the activity before me, I was risking very little other than gaining a pound or two.

But each of these players, attempting to bat, run, throw, and catch, were risking a lot. Besides injury, they risked making a bad play and setting their team back. They risked failure, self-doubt, and enduring criticism from the spectators.

This is similar to life beyond the ball diamond, where we can choose to remain a bystander watching other’s living their lives. Or we can choose to step out into the life given us, taking risks, knowing that we may meet up with failure, self-doubt, and criticism.

“When was the last time you did something for the first time?” is a quote from John C. Maxwell (American business and investment speaker). It is a great question. When was the last time I tried something new, risked something, or got out of my comfort zone? Am I someone who is ‘playing the game’, or just someone who is ‘playing it safe’?

Kim Louise Clarke hopes her writing will inspire, inform, and entertain. She writes travel devotional memoirs, having published one book, with another to be published soon. Website: www.kimlouiseclarke.com

A Leap of Faith

fear, risk, leap of faith, fall, get back upI am fascinated to watch Olympic Figure Skaters. They are graceful and make difficult moves look effortless. The speed with which they are on their feet again after a fall never ceases to amaze me.

A lot can be learned from the way they put a mistake behind them and continue as if nothing happened. This gives a powerful visual to the phrase, “Shake it off and carry on.”

The commentators gave me some new insight into this. When one of the complicated jumps results in a fall, it is not the disaster I would have assumed. Only one point is deducted. I saw a skater fall, redeem herself in the rest of her performance and end up near the top of the standings.

On the other hand, when a jump is a required element of a program and not attempted, zero points are awarded for this portion. It would have been more advantageous to fall than not to attempt the jump.

This is a good life lesson for me. I have often been unsure I could accomplish something so played it safe and not even tried. After all, if would be embarrassing to have people see me fall.

Unfortunately, this offers no hope for master anything new. I may have to fall and get back up many times before I’m successful. Instead of being concerned about what others think, I need to focus on doing my best.

The mental image of the figure skaters will help inspire me to go ahead and take a leap of faith.

 

Wings of an Eagle

#God, #inspirationBrian saw it first.  There on the top of one of the tall towers supporting power lines, was a huge eagle nest.

We pulled over and got out the binoculars to have a closer look.  The black speck we could see from a distance was actually a young eagle standing slightly to one side of the inspiration, GOdnest. Upon scanning the area, we discovered an adult eagle on a nearby tower, keeping watch.

I looked at the tremendous height and thought of those eaglets learning to fly. This doesn’t happen quickly, it’s a process. I’ve been told the immature eagles often stand at the edge of the nest, frightened to take the risk to fly. #inspiration, #God,  faith, pushWhen the parent thinks the eaglet is ready, it will push the young one out.

Sometimes I’ve done the preparation needed but have been afraid to take the risk to fly solo. My faith is still immature. In cases like this, I’ve appreciated a push that forced me to trust in my ability to soar. God has many ways of giving me the push I needed.

Like the adult eagles standing guard over their young, I know that God is always nearby, watching over me. Even when I’m not aware of his presence, he is there.

He teaches me what I need to learn and I am confident when he asks me to step out in faith, one of two things will happen.  Either he will catch me when I fall or teach me to fly.

…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)

Take a Risk or Stay in the Dark?

risk, heights, dark, fearMy friend was standing on the top rung of a step ladder, arms fully extended to replace some burned out light bulbs. I was at the foot of the ladder ready to exchange the old bulbs for new ones.

Personally, I’m not fond of climbing up ladders. It feels too precarious to me. I commented that I’d be nervous but she seemed confident. My friend replied that she doesn’t like heights but learned a long time ago that there are things you need to do despite the fear. Replacing light bulbs happened to be one of them.

To emphasize her point I said, “So if you don’t take the risk you’ll end up in the dark.” We looked at each other with the realization that a greater truth had just been spoken.

There have been many risks I was too afraid to take. I’ll never know the light of new discoveries if I don’t take the chance. Jesus came that I may have a rich and satisfying life. Part of that is embracing the new adventures he has for me.

When I have taken the risk and stepped out in faith I’ve learned to keep my focus on Jesus. If I stumble I know that he is there to pick me up again. Other times he steps back to watch me soar. Either way, any risk he encourages me to take is more than worth it.

When I said, “My feet are slipping, “your mercy, O LORD, continued to hold me up. When I worried about many things, your assuring words soothed my soul. (Psalm 94:18,19 GWT)

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10 NLT)

Purple Hair!

purple hair photoI willing allowed 2 young women to bleach sections of my hair and then dye it purple! Why would a conservative person such as me do such a thing? The answer is simple, because I care about building a relationship with these young women. You see, they are my granddaughters and trusting them to do this spoke volumes about my feelings for them.

When first asked, my thoughts were conflicting. Part of me thought it would be fun. The other part argued that it might look ridiculous and someone like me just didn’t do this sort of thing. Deciding to be spontaneous, I went for it. Although it didn’t turn out exactly as I had imagined, I am enjoying the comments I receive!

When one person asked me about the colour in my hair, I jokingly said that our children may have made us grey but our grandchildren make us much more colourful. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I realized how true that was. In the business of life we tend to let the colourful, spontaneous part of ourselves fade away. By the time our grandchildren come along, we don’t have the same pressures so can relax and allow ourselves more time to have fun with them. This is when we rediscover the joy to be found by stopping to explore everything around us.

For someone who normally likes to ‘play it safe’ my impulse to try something different has been a big eye opener for me. Wanting to be sure that I make the right choice has often been paralyzing for me. Not long ago, when I was putting off a decision, I confessed to a friend that if I didn’t decide, then I couldn’t fail. As soon as I said it, I knew that was wrong. By not making a decision, I am failing. If things turn out in my favor, it was a good choice. If not, it’s a learning experience. In either case I am moving forward.

God did not give us a spirit of fear but of trust. I trust him to guide me. He can take any mistakes that I make and turn them into something he can use.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)
Be inspired this week!