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Sure, I’ve Never Played

Ping pong tables are great, for two weeks.  After that they are just an oversized cardboard table that resembles a…

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Ping pong tables are great, for two weeks.  After that they are just an oversized cardboard table that resembles a really large battleship board.  Oh maybe that’s what we can do with ours!  People who play ping pong are people who have never played ping pong.  They want to give it a shot and try it out.  The owner of the table tries to take it easy on them but it’s just too darn easy to show off your mad skills once you grab the dimpled wooden paddle.  Pretty soon those lofted easy serves turn into look what I can do low liners barely crossing over the net for a point.  The newbie is done and congratulations you have yourself a battleship board that no longer has a purpose.

I’ve heard of serious games breaking out and causing a big stir but that’s in China I think.  Not here in America.  The games in good ol’ US of A take place in a cluttered garage and doesn’t end with someone winning the match by a point total.  The game ends when you can’t find any more ping pong balls as they lay in silence under unused fitness equipment or dust collecting gifts from Santa and old boxes.

Ping pong score keeping is another deflator to the game.  You spend more time asking your opponent what the score is and then you are left questioning how well you trust them.  It doesn’t have the same appeal as tennis when you ask a friend to take a seat in a lifeguard perch above the tiny little net.  Now the ball collecting running children could definitely make the cut for tennis crossover.  Have those kids just sit quiet under the table and tear out to collect the white bouncing ball occasionally handing you a towel to wipe down after a vicious lofted serve that just hit the net.

Maybe I will break out the old, I mean new and barely used table.  But what would be the point, I would still have to find someone who has never played ping pong before.

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It Better Be Easy to Be Happy

It better be easy to be happy or I just don’t want to have anything to do with it!  I…

It better be easy to be happy or I just don’t want to have anything to do with it!  I joked the other day that I would have made spaghetti for dinner but ugh, boiling water.  What a task, am I right?  I think you know that I’m right but it’s such an easy task that you know the answer can’t really be yes so you cave and say no.  Coward!

Let me present my case.  First, fill the pot with water.  Hahaha, there is no pot!  Well there is a pot but it’s probably dirty from the last time you had the bright idea to make spaghetti.  Check the cupboard.  After checking the cupboard put all the pots, pans and cookie sheets back into the cupboard by quickly sliding your hand out of the partially cracked door before they all come spilling out for a second time.  Oh there’s the missing pot.  In the sink.  Dirty.  But how dirty?  Let me inspect the pot to see if washing it will be necessary. My hand is stuck to the bottom to an unknown substance that appears to be growing.  Time to wash the pot.

By this time I could have been back from McDonald’s.  Why?  Because I don’t order by number, I order by vehicle scan and a thumbs up out of the window as I come screeching into the parking lot.  Yeah, they know me and my order.  Time to fill that prodigal pot up with water.  Now comes the tricky part, cold or hot water?  Does it go faster to wait for the cold tap water to become hot tap water or for cold tap water in a pot to become warm pot water?  Ten minutes later the tap water is warm and I fill the pot and then place it on the stove.  Another ten minutes have now gone by when I realize the real key to increasing the temperature of water is putting a lid on top of the pot.

Are you with me now on the boiling water, ugh thing?  One thing is for sure, once it’s heated and boiling it’s good to go.  Remember that whole happiness comment at the top of the page (It better be easy to be happy or I just don’t want to have anything to do with it!)?  Sometimes I feel like I have the same approach to being happy as I do to boiling water.  Such an easy task to smile and be happy but ugh, being happy.

Last Sunday the message was The Pursuit of Happiness.

“To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness. . .”
Ecc 2:26

Dang.  God gives happiness.  God gives happiness and I make it a process of having to find and clean a pot first before I can even be open to accepting the free gift.  Sometimes I feel that we work extra hard to be sad, discouraged or even disappointed about things in life when God is handing out happiness.

God shines perspective on this scripture quickly when I think of friends who found themselves physically, mentally and emotionally drained after facing complications with the birth of their second child.  Late one night I’m watching meaningless recorded tv shows while scrolling through twitter on the couch when I randomly checked Facebook to read about the news. They are several states away having heart to heart conversations with God as they lean on His Word for different Scriptures where God isn’t handing out happiness but physical healing and the most amazing comfort of peace.   I remember how I felt reading their updates and asking for prayers in a way that seemed odd.  There was no doom and gloom hanging over the requests online.  No woe as me Eeyore approach.  More of a solid, strong and matter of fact informative posts with a hint of a smile behind the words as if the Word they knew to be true infused peace and happiness even in the most trying of circumstances.  I’m not sure why I was prodded with this mental and visual reminder.  Maybe because when thinking about happiness I see the larger than life smile on this precious miracle baby who is doing just fine.

Why this quick confrontation with this easy task of happiness?  As I’m trying to figure this out the Pastor explains how his wife was not in attendance that morning.  She’s still battling cancer and didn’t feel well that morning from a recent chemo treatment.  But there he was, pleasing God and finding a way to dictate his emotions instead of his circumstances dictating his emotions.

And there again the thought “It better be easy to be happy”.  We don’t want to work for it, we never do.  As happy as we are on Christmas morning I wouldn’t be surprised if we stopped wrapping presents.  Gifts are nice but who wants to work for it by tearing extra thin colorfully printed paper held together by tape.

As far as being happy and it being easy, even if it’s difficult I now know that it’s there if I chose to accept it. And that makes smiling pretty easy.

Oh and that pot of boiling water on the stove, it was used to make tea because we were out of noodles!

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Discipline, The Vacuum Cleaner of Life

Discipline sucks. I hate discipline. Discipline means work, sacrifice, commitment, focus, and a lot more adjectives that I don’t have…

Discipline sucks. I hate discipline. Discipline means work, sacrifice, commitment, focus, and a lot more adjectives that I don’t have the discipline to sit and think through. Discipline is that ingredient that isn’t on the end of the aisle at the grocery store of life.  You have to search for it. Discipline is the often untapped source used to separate the good from the great.

Discipline is like Goliath issuing daily challenges to the deep parts of your mind and conscience that no one else can see. Unseen challenges could be a reason many of those daily challenges go unaccepted because there’s no one to see you ignore the pretend battlefield created in the matter of seconds when the champion Discipline confronts you.

Discipline, as hard as I may try to make it seem to explain is rather easy to define. It’s as easy as the word itself. DiscipLINE is a large black line on a white background so it’s easy to see. It presents you with the option of choosing what’s on the left side of the line or on the right side of the line. Choose your font, font color, and size for the word discipline if you would like. Whether your options show up in bullet points neatly left aligned and correctly tab indented for sub points or in graffiti letters with no particular order, the line has been drawn. No matter how many times you blink your eyes you are still confronted with the black line, white background, and options.

What will it be, the challenge issued is unseen by others but the result of winning the challenge is seen by all.

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We WILL or We Won’t

The pen may be more powerful than the sword but the mind can be more powerful than the pen or…

The pen may be more powerful than the sword but the mind can be more powerful than the pen or the sword.

  • When does the mind talk you out of waking up early?
  • When does the mind talk you into staying up late to watch a movie you’ve already seen three times?
  • When does the mind tempt you to eat something not on your diet?
  • When does the mind subliminally cancel a workout that you just changed your clothes for?
  • When does the mind convince you the noise you heard was nothing in the other room so you don’t have to get out of bed?
  • When does the mind convince you that the noise you heard in the other room was a murderer who broke into your home and is waiting to kill you?

When? Probably a lot.

The mind recalls the thoughts, that recall the feelings and emotions that make it easy to choose good over bad. You know, instant gratification over long term commitment.

When I’m tired and I want to stop running during a training run the mighty mind plays it’s part.

Remember how good it feels to walk and just slow down all together? Remember there’s always tomorrow and you can workout then.

Even though the mind is strong and normally gets it’s way, when the heart stands up and speaks the whole body listens.

So here’s what happens next when at the fork of complacency and doing something great. The heart pumps life and beats fast for what’s important. It produces a beautiful soundtrack for the mind as it plays out a heroic battle of not giving up and pressing onward. The mind brings up experiences that you’ve lived and the heart works to paint a picture of what has yet to be done and lived out.

The mind begs you to choose the mediocrity of repeating failures when giving up to soon because it’s scared of the unknown.  But this time the heart wins out and convinces the mind to make the “WILL” mightier than the pen, sword, mind, or heart.

Never underestimate the “WILL” to succeed.  Next time you either WILL or you won’t.

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The Treadmill Is Running

I’m a sucker for funny videos of people falling off of treadmills.  I’ve never seen one in person but could…

I’m a sucker for funny videos of people falling off of treadmills.  I’ve never seen one in person but could only imagine the sound of tread and skin.  I can honestly say I’ve had my share of close miscues.  Those slight miscues demand your full attention like dozing off for a split second when you are trying so hard to stay awake.

I hit the treadmill today for the first time in years.  I had one of those miscues today when my foot slipped along with the tread at the same time.  I ditched the treadmill a few years back after running 13.1 miles on my birthday.  I had a goal to run a half marathon on my birthday and used the treadmill to help me accomplish the feat.

After the small milestone of success I decided to trade the treadmill for asphalt.  I completed my fourth half marathon this past December.  Nine weeks later I went out for a run and barely finished one mile.  It was one of my top three most painful runs.  My legs and feet hurt.  The weight I gained since my time off and life away from training cost me dearly.

So a little over a month later I traded the asphalt for the treadmill where it all began.  I was mad at myself for my decline in performance.  Funny videos of people falling off treadmills couldn’t even make me chuckle as I do a self evaluation.  I can’t dwell on the time lost as I’m forced to start the process all over again.  I’m too busy turning on the treadmill everyday so that I can once again ditch old faithful for the asphalt.

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