It’s a ‘dogs life for me

Just in case you’re wondering, I’ll be cheering for the Butler Bulldogs this Saturday.  And just to stay in keeping with the Final Four idea, let me give you four reasons why.

1.  They’re from Indiana.  This is not a team recruited from across the nation – this is a team of home-grown talent.  That’s right, ten of the players on the roster played their high school ball in the Hoosier state.  And why does that matter?  Because for 33 years I lived in Indiana, and I’m still a Hoosier at heart.

2.  They’re the underdogs.  I know that some people are favoring them against Michigan State, but let’s be for real.  MSU is the 8th largest university in the US with a student population of over 45,000 while Butler boasts a student body of 4,500.   That extra zero makes a big difference.  We’re talking David vs. Goliath here.

3.  They’re a team.  And basketball is still a team game.   Basketball’s not just about talent – it’s about  fundamentals, it’s about playing smart, it’s about making the extra pass, it’s about working for the good shot, it’s about blocking out, it’s about making the people around you better – and yes, it’s about playing good defense. (When you play pick-up games in Indiana, there is no such thing as “make it; take it.”  When you score, you have to earn the ball back.)

4.  There’s no reason to cheer against them.  Duke – you get all the calls.  Michigan State – you’ve been to more than your fair share of Final Fours.  West Virginia – your coach has some major question marks floating above his head (I would give your team props, though, for taking out Kentucky – remember, I’m from Indiana).  Butler – there’s nothing bad to say.

So it’s the Bulldogs life for me.


Hanging Tough

My Dad sent the following out in his daily email.  It’s his list of things to do when you are facing tough times.  I thought it was worth copying and passing along.

1. Recommit to the will of God. God is sovereign and in control.  Your resistance to God’s will isn’t going to change anything.  Your resistance will only make things worse.  You’ll find most peace in settling the issue of surrender at the outset of your problems.

2. Recognize God as your ultimate source. Everything finally issues back to Him.  He can do for you what no one else can do.  Best to turn to Him for His help before anyone / thing else.

3. Focus on the promises of God. Keep a list of them.  Be sure they pertain to your situation.  Keep them constantly before you.  Be specific in regard to prayer requests.  Make prayer lists and mark off answers.  Nothing encourages like seeing God’s hand at work. Don’t be afraid to ask God for anything.

4. Keep a long-range view in regard to God. Realize anew just Who God is.  Remember His long-term dealings in your life.  Remember other times when He cared for similar (or more serious) situations.  Realize that He has long-range plans and sees the end from the beginning.  Don’t give in to the feelings that God doesn’t know what is going on in your life.

5.  Look for blessings God sends in the midst of the trials. There are few things more encouraging than to know that God is at work in a situation.  Try to find ways in which God is working in your behalf.

6.  Keep your life in focus – maintain outside interests. Don’t allow your trial to consume you.  Keep other interests in life as an alternative focus.  Don’t allow your trials to destroy your relationships.

7.  Don’t allow your mind to make things worse than they are. Most of us can create monsters where none exist.  Few things in life are ever as bad as they could be or as they seem as if they will be.  Thought control is difficult, but it is possible.

8. Don’t allow yourself to ask questions to which you know you have no answers (or that have no answers). There are answers to every question, but God has chosen not to give us some of them now.  Asking unanswerable questions only leads to mental frustration.  Time may give some answers; the Lord will give the rest.

9.  Do everything in your power to attack the situation. Take whatever practical steps you can toward a solution.  Don’t allow the size of a situation to keep you from doing what you are able to do about it.  The activity involved in doing what you can about a situation tends to be therapeutic.

10.  Find a friend in whom you can confide. Seek someone who is a willing listener but who will not reinforce your negative emotions.  Be sure your confidant in confidential.  Don’t be afraid of transparency.

11.  Keep some things before you as goals, etc. Don’t lose interest in life in general.  Keep some things in front of you that you would yet like to accomplish.  Develop your goals, especially mentally, as they will encourage you to keep on going.

12.  Refuse to quit or to turn on the Lord. It is always too soon to quit when God in involved.  Turning on the Lord never benefits anyone (it actually will hurt those who are around you).   Resolve with Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”

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