Quote of the Day: July 13, 2012

The reality is, we need community in order to follow Christ radically. I am convinced that one reason many of us have not taken radical steps in our giving, for example, may not be so much because we love our possessions as it is because we fear isolation. If the radical, simple living we see Jesus talking about were more common in the church, it would be much easier for us to live simply as well. But we look around, and everyone else has nice cars, nice homes, and lifestyles characterized by luxuries, so we accept that this must be the norm for Christians. We may get convicted about our way of living when we look at the Bible, but then when we look at one another, we assume it must be okay because everyone else lives this way.

Platt, David (2010-04-17). Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (pp. 205-206). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Quote of the Day: July 12, 2012

I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.

- Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest, June 17 devotional

Quote of the Day: July 10, 2012

Yesterday this was the inspirational quote on the wall on the gym that I go to:

“Don’t quit now.  You’re already in pain.  You’re already hurt.  Don’t miss out on the rewards.”

I found that to be close to one of our favorite verses to quote to encourage one another to persevere:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

May you persevere today for the reward of becoming more like Jesus.

Quote of the Day: July 5, 2012

To everyone wanting a safe, untroubled, comfortable life free from danger, stay away from Jesus. The danger in our lives will always increase in proportion to the depth of our relationship with Christ. Maybe this is why we sit back and settle for a casual relationship with Christ and routine religion in the church. It is safe there, and the world likes us there. The world likes us when we are pursuing everything they are pursuing, even if we do put a Christian label on it. As long as Christianity looks like the American dream, we will have few problems in this world. But if we identify with Christ, we will lose much in this world. Jesus said this himself: “Everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”9 These words should frighten us. They should frighten us because our Teacher was mocked, beaten, scourged,spit upon, and nailed to a cross. Do we really want to be like him?

Platt, David (2010-04-17). Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (pp. 167-168). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Tricks of the Trade: Lanolin for Dry Lips

I don’t know if I could have survived breastfeeding four babies for 4.5 years without Lansinoh Lanolin. One of the fabulous things about the product is that a little goes a really long way, so you may have found yourself with some extra sitting around. I just recently discovered it is the ULTIMATE lip balm. It is incredibly thick and moisturizing and totally pure as well. Elijah gets really chapped lips and nothing works quite like this for him (and doesn’t sting which he often complains about with other lip balms). And as an added bonus it works great for healing cuts and scrapes too. So even though I am now done breastfeeding, once my tube runs out, I will be buying another for the lips in our family.

Welcome Back to American Culture

One thing that I learned early on in my journey as a basketball wife was that after spending months overseas there would be some culture shock in coming back to the U.S. I remember my first day back in the U.S. after spending 4 months in Greece for my first overseas experience and being shocked at the size of everything in the U.S. We are a “big” culture. We buy in bulk, we sell large meals, our people and animals are bigger, our stores offer a bigger selection, etc. Over the years I have noticed little things here and there as I have come back from being overseas, but nothing has shocked me quite as much as that first time I came home. That is, until this year.

A few days after we got home from Ukraine, I was at an ice hockey game. I was still a bit jet lagged, but overall was feeling pretty good. The game was moving along through the first period and then came the break between the first and second periods. And it was like I had entered the Twilight Zone. As soon as that buzzer went off to end the first period, people whipped their mobile devices out like nothing I have ever seen. As I looked around to see what people were doing I saw everything from checking Facebook pages to texting to playing games to posting pictures. I kept looking and saw couples that were obviously on a “date” sitting beside one another moving their thumbs quickly across their phones. I saw kids with their parents all with their own devices lost in their own worlds.

It was really striking to me, especially considering I hadn’t even brought my phone in the building because I was there with my dad and if I needed to call someone I could use his phone. Or asked one of the hundreds of people around me who had a phone.

Now it isn’t like I don’t see phone usage in Europe. I certainly do. In fact texting was big in Europe long before it was in the U.S. because it was cheaper over there. So I can remember fumbling around with texting back in 2005 while my European counterparts could breeze through a text like they had taken a class on it. I had to actually get used to the fact that people would text rather than call. But I think the big shift in the U.S. has come with the iPhone. It is relatively cheap to get an iPhone in the U.S., which is not the case in Europe. They are much more expensive there and not as universally used. Plus there seem to be less phones trying to copy off them. But in the U.S., the majority of the people have an iPhone. And there seems to be something about the iPhone that is addicting and almost seems to come up with reasons why you should be on it every hour of your waking day.

This little glimpse into American culture was a wake-up call to me because it saddened me. People barely talk to one another anymore. Or even beyond that, they don’t know how to just sit and “be” for 10 minutes without their fingers having something to do. It is part of the reason I am off Facebook and Twitter and have turned off all notifications on my own iPhone. It is part of the reason I put my phone away one day each week and don’t use it. And it is part of the reason we are already thinking through how we will let our kids use phones and how we want to model phone usage for them. We really want to be people who love people and not things. And you show what you love partly by the way you spend your time. And what I saw at that 2 hour glimpse into American culture is that we spend a lot of time on our phones.

This is not a rant against iPhones, but just something I felt compelled to share because it squeezed at my heart. Maybe you don’t even have a cell phone, but all of us probably have an area where our stated priorities don’t line up with where we spend our time. I just want to challenge you to think through that today. Have a great Thursday!

Quote of the Day: April 11, 2012

When we are “in love” with someone we often appear to attend to our beloved when in fact we are doing the very opposite.  Instead of being attentive we are acquisitive.  We use the other for our own glorification, we bask in the presence of our beloved because we enjoy the image of ourselves that is reflected back….This is the opposite of Christian love.  The opposite is all about me.  Even idolizing my beloved- Certainly a danger for the newly infatuated- is all about me, though it pretends to be all about the other, it is all about me because it does not take my beloved seriously as a person created and redeemed by God but rather imagines him to be perfect, heroic, sublime, and customized to meet my needs

Lauren Winner in “The Countercultural Path” p.38 as quoted in Timothy Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God” p.213-214

Quote of the Day: April 9, 2012

“Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning.”

Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers: The Story of Success p.150

Tricks of the Trade: Adjusting Kids’ Sleep Schedule

This year was one of the first times I adjusted our kids sleep in anticipation of changing time zones.  Usually when we go west to east I don’t try to make them go to bed earlier because they are spending time enjoying the joys of home before we leave and to make them go to bed early during that time seems silly.  And when we fly east to west, we usually have such an early flight that to try and adjust their bedtimes back doesn’t work so well because they would end up with very little sleep before the day of travel…never a good idea.  But this year we did our travel broken up in two days, so we didn’t have any early wake-up time.  So I decided to try and push the kids schedules back by a bit.

For me, the key to adjusting the kids’ schedules is to focus on when they eat.  If I try to push the kids bedtime back by an hour, no good.  I have to also push each of their meals that day back by an hour as well or they will just continue to wake up at the same time in the morning.  I find this especially helpful when we are dealing with jet lag as well.  For some reason, the body seems to follow the stomach!

Married to a Baller is Four Years Old

Yesterday marked four years since I posted my first blog post here. I am not sure that I ever imagined I would write for four years. Originally it was more of a short term project that I wasn’t really sure how long it would last. At that time I had just had our third child and was still navigating a lot of the waters of the overseas life in only my 5th experience overseas. Now Joe has been playing for 11 years and in many ways we feel like the “old folks” of the basketball world.

These past few years have brought about many changes in me in terms of how I relate to digital media and the basketball world in general. And because of many of these changes, this blog is also going to go through a bit of a facelift as well.  Some of the reasons for the changes are:

  1. I have less and less of a desire to be “digital”.  The more I have searched my heart, my priorities and what I want to define me, I realize that sitting at a computer doesn’t fit as well into what I want to define my life.  I think there are people who are called to it, but where I am right now, I don’t feel like I am.  I don’t have a desire to blog as much anymore and would much rather be spending time with my family and friends in person.
  2. I wanted to write to encourage others who were in a similar situation as me.  And I hope I have done that over the past four years.  But lately I have felt like I am searching for things to blog on in terms of the basketball life.  And I don’t want to have to search and think too much about myself or our “unique” situation.  Too much introspection and gazing at my own life is not healthy.  So I feel like I have come to the end of most of my basketball experiences that I want to share for now.
  3. This upcoming season of life is going to be a busy one.  We are about to adjust back to the U.S. once again and I will be busy with activities for the kids and being a single mom of four children for a time.  Plus once Joe is home for the summer, we are always busy with visiting family and friends and just enjoying our time in the U.S.  And I don’t picture myself being tied to the computer very often, or even wanting to be.
  4. I have become more and more uncomfortable with the culture of “blogging” where anyone and everyone can set themselves up as an expert.  I know I have done it often, so I am in no way just pointing the finger at others here, but the overall nature of blogging often seems to be one of believing you have a very valuable opinion and that as many people as possible should listen to it.  I do think that many people have valuable things to say, but we all seem to want to be teachers instead of learners in this day of age.  I want to spend more time being a learner.

When I first started thinking about this a few months ago, I thought I would just stop blogging on here.  I shared that with Joe and he immediately began trying to convince me otherwise.  He did encourage me though to maybe take a look at blogging a bit different, so as I have thought about it over the last couple of months (while I had mostly scheduled posts to go up) I came up with a few changes that I think will keep me blogging in a more enjoyable way:

  1. My blogging may be sporadic because I am not going to pressure myself to have a post up any certain number of times a week.  So I may be more random at times.
  2. My blogging about the basketball lifestyle will be minimal.  The Basket Wives section will continue to stay up as a reference that I pray will bless many women, but the topics probably won’t focus on this lifestyle as much anymore.  I have enjoyed the Meet the Basket Wives series, but even that will only come when I meet a woman in person I would like to feature on the blog.
  3. There will more recommendations and quotes.  I have been doing a lot more reading since not spending as much time on the computer.  So much of it has encourage amy soul that I would like to share and recommend more, as I used Twitter for.  Much of my blogging will also probably come through things these books cause me to think through.
  4. The blog in general will act more as a daily journal in terms of writing out what I learn and struggle through in order to experience a greater depth of learning, and hopefully encourage others.  Only when those lessons involve the family will the family be brought in.  More of the personal posts (top ten events of the previous year, birthday  and anniversary posts, etc.) will be post don our family blog from now on.
  5. There will be less effort on the visual appeal of the blog.  Not that the point of my blog was to ever have the best looking blog, but I am going to forgo even the few extra minutes to post pictures and fancy signatures.

So that is the plan for now.  Hopefully this stream of consciousness has made some sort of sense.  As always, thank you so much for being the fabulous readers that you are and for helping me along in my journey.