Jump out of the plane.

Someone important in my life has had some really tough decisions to make recently. As I prayed to have the right words and advice to give, I found a lot of clarity that I think is so important. 

If we are following His will, God IS going to ask us to make some tough decisions. The first part of that is following His will. Not our own. It, of course, will take a lot of prayer and discernment to know what is the will of God. “We need to know that God is calling us to devote our lives to missions, take the internship offer, quit our job, or make the move. But I wonder if we’re so afraid of doing the wrong thing that it keeps us from doing the right thing.” (Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle)

That being said, no one ever told us God would make it easy. Quite the opposite actually… over and over the Bible shows us He will make it pretty dang tough. For just about every person who ever followed God’s plan and direction, they had to give up major things. Moving across the country (or to another country), Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac, leaving family behind, giving your money and time, etc. God has to be first priority. We must be willing to give up anything and everything to follow His will. Because you can make a pretty safe bet that when God asks you to do something, it will usually mean sacrificing your comfort, what you love, and/or your own plans.

“If you wait for perfect conditions before you seize an opportunity, you’ll be waiting until the day you die.” We will never, ever be ready. 

Our entire lives are shaped by whether or not we seize the God-ordained opportunities presented to us. Wouldn’t you rather shape your life by stepping out, even in fear, to follow Him? 

God will ask you to fly 15,000 feet up into the air, and jump out of the plane. But when you know it’s His will, you can do so without fear. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. He wouldn’t ask you to jump if it was something you couldn’t handle with Him

And the thing is… we can’t even fathom how great the rewards are when we do follow His will. He has unbelievable plans for us that we can’t begin to imagine. 

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Bittersweet.

If you know me, you probably know that about a month and a half from now will be the two year mark of when I nearly lost my mom to kidney disease. Actually, if I’m honest, many of you may not even know that. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few months talking with my mom about opening up, and how I (we) don’t quite let people all the way in… a trait I most certainly inherited from her. Recently, we both have learned about the vulnerability God seeks for us. He wants us to open up. To share what’s happening in our lives. To let other people in so they can handle what’s happening with us. When we, any of us who have been transformed by Christ, tell our own stories, we’re telling the story of who God is.

Tragedy teaches us. A lot. It teaches us a lot about ourselves, about God and about the people in our lives and who we surround ourselves with. One of the things I’ve learned is that when things fall apart, there will be a lot of broken pieces… but those pieces allow for other things to enter — things like the presence of God, which we find both in stillness, but also in the love of the people we call our home team.

Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.  – Shauna Niequist, “Bittersweet”

Everyone’s home team will look different but if yours is anything like mine — they look like a team full of people from all different walks of life, some of whom have known me since the days I barely spoke & was the last player picked for the team (ironic considering my current sports broadcast career) and some I’ve only known for a short time but immediately became part of my team. It’s often said that one of the sure things in life is that people will disappoint you. While unfortunately the past couple years have proven there is truth in that statement, people will also amaze you. They will bless your life in so many ways, show you the heart of God and surprise you with acts of love you never expected. And sometimes, though they won’t be able to mend your hurt or meet your needs, they’ll still enter in. “And even though I realize I cannot always mend or meet, I can enter in. I can enter into someone’s pain and sit with them and know. This is Jesus. Not that He apologizes for the hard and the hurt, but that He enters in, He comes with us to the hard places. And so I continue to enter.” (Words Katie Davis’ Kisses from Katie, a book you MUST read if you haven’t)

I truly believe that nothing really good gets built when everything is easy. These two toughest years of my life have also been two of my biggest years of growth. I’ve been shown the most beautiful example of what a marriage full of true love looks like, thanks to my dad. I’ve seen a daily strength in my mom that can only be described as epic. Though I thought it was impossible, my sister and I have somehow become even closer. I thought I knew this before, but even more I’ve learned to fully, with everything in you, trust God’s plan. I’ve been taught that God is not at all concerned with our comfort, but how our circumstances can change us.

I’ve come to pray for the impossible and understand that God is offended by anything less. I pray daily for complete healing, for a new kidney for my mom, for someone I know (or even a complete stranger) to feel God calling them to be her living donor. My God is so big; bigger than my family’s problems, and I’ve learned to pray like it. Impossible prayers honor God. They reveal our faith and allow Him to reveal His glory.

I believe deeply that God does his best work in our lives during times of great heartbreak and loss, and I believe that much of that rich work is done by the hands of people who love us, who dive into the wreckage with us and show us who God is, over and over and over… When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow. – Shauna Niequist

“I have always been a big proponent of following your heart and doing exactly what you want to do. It sounds so simple, right? But there are people who spend years—decades, even—trying to find a true sense of purpose for themselves. My advice? Just find the thing you enjoy doing more than anything else, your one true passion, and do it for the rest of your life on nights and weekends when you’re exhausted and cranky and just want to go to bed…. Because the bottom line is that life is short, and you owe it to yourself to spend the majority of it giving yourself wholly and doing what you feel you were put on this earth to do. Really, the biggest obstacle to overcome here is you.”

– David Ferguson, The Onion

“I have always …

Bearcats Basketball Games 2, 3 & 4

UC hosts College of Charleston... 66-57 win for the Bearcats.

UC hosts College of Charleston… 66-57 win for the Bearcats.

Got 3 more Cincinnati women’s basketball games under my belt as a color analyst… I’m loving it. Especially after calling today’s Crosstown Classic game between Xavier and UC. For those who don’t know, the two are rival schools, both in Cincinnati, and match up every year in this crosstown battle. XU has won the past 3 but Cincy leads the series 22-13.

Today’s Crosstown Classic was unbelieveable and reminded me exactly why I fell in love with this game. It was an unreal double overtime thriller, that unfortunately ended in a Cats loss. Props to Xavier for the amazing comeback, but it killed me to see UC lead the entire game until the last 15 seconds of regulation and then lose in 2OT. Heartbreaking loss for the Bearcats but it was an incredible atmosphere. Also, was a very cool feeling to call a game that included multiple girls I played against and a fellow alum of my AAU program. I’m so blessed to still work around the game I love.

Oh yeah… and this next picture is from UC women’s basketball’s  “Jimmy Buffet Night” at Fifth Third Arena. I use quotations because there was nothing Jimmy Buffet about it. I did try to stop at Party City to buy leis for Scott & I to wear and they only had ONE… so maybe UC had the same problem and cancelled Jimmy Buffet Night altogether? …poor Jimmy.

UC vs Morehead State... "Jimmy Buffet Night" - not pretty but pulled out a 55-45 W.

UC vs Morehead State… “Jimmy Buffet Night” – not pretty but pulled out a 55-45 W.

CROSSTOWN CLASSIC... in black & white... because I wore purple to XU vs UC? Rookie move.

CROSSTOWN CLASSIC… in black & white… because I wore purple to XU vs UC? Rookie move.

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#GivingTuesday

It’s #GivingTuesday and in honor of that, here’s my commitment for the month of December…

I’m committing to RACK someone every day from December 1st through Christmas December 25th. And I’m announcing this to you all because now that it’s public and out there, I know I’ll follow through. So head on over to my dear friend Kait’s blog and check out the details of this lovely little RACK movement she’s starting!

I encourage you all to join me and get involved in this movement! Be thankful, be giving, take a moment to do even the tiniest thing for someone else.

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Thankful.

A few of the things I’m thankful for: God, my family, friends, my puppy, basketball, football, my job, wine, running, the beach, peanut butter, coffee… the list goes on. I could never list all the things I’m thankful for but most importantly, I’m thankful for where they all come from. My God is good.

Blessed to have a sister that is also my best friend.

Happy to have her back in Cincy even if it was only for a few days!

 

 

Absolutely thankful for our homemade apple pie.

Puppy love.

We all need to make the effort to not save our thankfulness for 1 day every year, but to be grateful each and every day for the abundant blessings in our lives.

Bearcats Basketball Game 1

Every girl’s dream office, right? Certainly mine…. Gym. Ball. Hoop. Mic… happy girl.

Kicked off my new gig as Color Analyst for University of Cincinnati women’s basketball. Being the first game of the season, I was a little rusty as expected but it went better than I thought! When it comes down to it… all I’m doing is talking basketball, which is what I love and do best.

PLUS the Bearcats got the W, so it was an all-around good night!

Thanks to my best girlfriend Kelli for snapping a pic of me right before game time. And also for coming to support me at Game #1 of the season!

Check out the UC Women’s Basketball games this season on gobearcats.com!

Why November rocks.

I’ll be honest… I’m the Scrooge of Halloween. Thanksgiving & Christmas are where I really shine. That’s just one reason why I’m so excited November is finally here, but I’ll give you a few:

1. Like I just stated, THANKSGIVING. And it’s not about the food… turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, apple pie… okay, maybe it’s a little a lot about the food. More importantly, I love that because of Thanksgiving, we have an entire month dedicated to being thankful and appreciating all the wonderful blessings God has given us.

2. Basketball season is here. Even better? Next weekend, Saturday includes college basketball AND college football. Talk about a perfect combination. I love football but basketball was my first love and absolutely has my heart. ESPN & SI have come out with their College & NBA preseason issues which I devoured immediately, Midnight Madness swept the nation & the NBA season officially began. Pure joy for a basketball junkie.

In addition to the usual happiness that comes with basketball season for me, this year I’ve been given an amazing opportunity. I’ll be serving as color commentator for the University of Cincinnati women’s basketball home games this season. I couldn’t be more excited and am thrilled to bury myself in studying up on UC hoops. I’ll do my best to share with you about my experience each week, including pictures. First game is Friday Nov 9, tip at 7! Gym. Ball. Hoop. Mic… happy girl.

3. Starbucks Holiday Cups! Because Starbucks is already God’s caffeinated gift to the sleep deprived… but now it comes in cups that remind us it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

4. Movember. Men grow mustaches to support men’s health. And if that awesomeness doesn’t speak for itself, I’ll leave you with this: http://www.myfoxphilly.com/story/19980842/eagles-center-kelce-shaves-beard-for-good-cause