Follow-Through…Finishing….Closing the Door

Sports have been a big part of my life as far back as i could remember – more watched than played, but still a big part.  For the middle part of my life, my dad was a baseball coach.  I remember when he would have camps for the little league kids during the summer and one of the fundamental lessons he would teach would be follow-through.  When you swing the bat to hit the ball, follow through.  When you catch the fly ball and throw it back, follow through.  When you’re trying to beat the throw to first, run through the bag (follow through).  The follow-through on the action is what adds the power to the action.  That is why a line drive off a major leaguer’s bat can break a guy’s neck!  It’s not about muscle strength or force.  Strong muscles and exerted force aren’t what allow golfers to drive balls “miles” down a fairway, it’s the follow-through.

Too bad we don’t get follow-through lessons in other things in our lives.  Or in other words lessons on how to finish.

I’m at the end of the pregnant phase of my life, and I’ve learned that I’m pretty terrible at finishing.  I have a stack of started crafts that prove my point.  I have rooms in my house that are 95% clean that add to the evidence.  Now, I’m not expecting my house to be “magazine worthy” clean – I live here, Ken lives here, we have a dog – I know better than to expect that level of clean.  But it’s the pile of opened mail that I know just needs to be sorted through (trash, act, or file).  Or the stack of fast food cups that sit on the counter beside the trash can that should have just gone in the trash can the first time they were handled.  Or the clothes that are laid over the chair that don’t get put up – since they’re not in the floor, they’re really not in the way (translation: I won’t fall over them on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night).

And cleaning house isn’t the only place we’ve failed to learn the lesson of follow-through (it’s just the first example this nesting preggo things of).  People also fail to follow through with their money.  You say you’re going to get out of debt, you even pay off credit cards, but then what do you do?  Is the account still open?  Is it still attached to your SirShopsAlot account?  Is the card still in your wallet?  Well, you made the promise to yourself that you’d set a limit and make sure you budget enough money to pay it off each month so you don’t accrue interest, that’s enough right?  How’s that working for you (as Dr. Phil would say)?  And speaking of budgets – what does your budget look like?  Is it on paper?  Has everyone who has access to the money agreed to it and understands the consequences of not following it?  You might have a written budget plan and it’s even hanging on the fridge for everyone to see, but where is your money really going?

Yes, follow-through seems to falter in the areas of our life where self-discipline (and self-motivation) is required.  Cleaning, money, health, relationships – all require us to work.  But that’s not the only areas follow-through needs occur.  So many opportunities present themselves throughout our daily lives – they sometimes walk right up to us, look us in the eyes, and jump in our hands.  Opportunities for new relationships, new experiences – learning more, doing more, living life more, sometimes even earning more.  And what do we do with them?  The business card goes in that “black hole” pocket of the wallet; the napkin with the phone number ends up disintegrated in the washing machine; the email or text message goes unanswered.  I wonder what we’re all missing out on?

This blog itself has been a lesson to me on following through with things.  I started this blog on 8/9/12 in Evernote on my iPad.  Something interrupted me in the middle of typing it (I really don’t remember what – went to lunch….got a phone call… had to pee) and when I finally got another minute to work on it, my excuse for finishing it was “I lost my flow of thoughts”.  Thus, in Evernote and (in my psyche) it sat – until today.

When I think about the condition of my psyche, it makes me think of Alice in Wonderland.  Alice walks into this room – it’s a round room, with doors of all sizes encircling her.  How does she get out of this room?  Most of the doors are locked.  In the end, she has to eat the cake on the table that makes her shrink so she can fit through the unlocked door.  But what if all the doors were unlocked?  That’s how I believe my psyche works – just like Alice’s room of doors where I can go through any of the doors I choose, and as long as I don’t let the door close behind me, i can come back to my room of doors and pick a different door on a different day.  The problem is that nothing ever gets completed which leads to me frantically running from one unfinished task to another (and not truly finishing any of them thanks to this thing call entropy – aka the chaos that ensues when you’re not applying energy to the situation) and then leads to the walls of my room being so full of opened doors that there’s no room for anything new in my life, that finally results me being stressed, frustrated, unhappy, and unable to relax in my own house.  What kind of life is that – especially since we’ll have a new baby around?!

Step one: yesterday’s to-do list (just ask Ken or my MIL & FIL about it).  Step two: this blog. Time to close some psyche doors, finish some tasks, and follow through on some opportunities.

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Father’s Day Memories

In honor of Father’s Day, i thought I’d share some fun memories I shared with my dad.

I was about 4 years old, dad was doing yard work and I was playing nearby.  On the far side of our driveway, there was a holly bush.  While I was playing,I found a holly leaf that I thoughts was just perfect! It wasn’t torn. It didn’t have any bug holes in it. And it had it’s stem attached.  I decided that I would give it to dad as a present.  But he was busy, so decided to put it in his back pocket so he could get it later.  Not much later, he starts yelling and spinning in circles, and finds my holly leaf in his pocket. I go running in the house crying “I was just trying to give daddy a present.”
Dad was the one who taught me about communion.  It was on a Sunday morning after church and we sat on the front row the first time I took communion (dad was also working on teaching me not to run in the sanctuary)!
When I would stay with dad to lock up the church after Sunday nights, he would hold me in his lap and let me “drive” home.  So glad I got more driving lessons before I had to really do it.  I told him one time “it’s not my fault the car doesn’t go straight even though I holding the steering wheel straight.”
I remember wanting to play little league baseball, but I didn’t want to be the only girl on a boy team (don’t think there was such a thing as girls’ little league softball back then).  I remember playing little league basketball and dad coaching my team (I wasn’t very good at that either).  I wanted to play tennis, didn’t make the team.  I later wanted to play soccer, but that wasn’t an American sport so, that didn’t work out either.  But even though my athletic abilities might have failed me, the sports knowledge I gained gets me responses like “you’re a girl, and you know that?!” to which I respond “my dad taught me.”
Dad drove half-way around Georgia for me to visit colleges.  And then drove 500 miles to help me find a good apartment when I started pharmacy school.
And at my wedding, he didn’t have to pull double-duty as pastor or coach, he just got to be dad.

What if God was narrow-minded…

…like us?

Go ahead, get mad, huff and puff and tell me that you’re not narrow-minded.

Now, think of something that you don’t like.  And think of a person (or group of people) that like that thing that you don’t like.  Did God create those people?  Did God create those people for a purpose?  Does God love those people?  Can you tell me that God didn’t give those people the ability or knowledge or skills or gifts to be able to accomplish, participate in, and succeed at that thing that you don’t like?

Ok, so that’s kind of vague.  Let’s get specific (and I’ll talk about me so you don’t have to examine yourself)…

I’m a pharmacist (well, about to be one very soon).  I like science, I like medicine, but I don’t like blood and guts and oozy things.  Therefore I am not a nurse or doctor or surgeon or dentist.  I’m a pharmacist.  Thank God there is somebody out there that likes blood and guts and oozy things to be nurses and doctors and surgeons and dentists.  I also don’t like dealing with death and terminal illnesses – my emotions aren’t built to handle those situations (that’s a whole ‘nother story).  Therefore do not work in an ICU or nursing home or cancer center.  Thank God for people who can handle those situations and choose to work on those places.

Now, it’s time to look at yourself…

Say you like art and music and drama, but you think sports are dumb and pointless.  Does that mean God didn’t create the people who are famed for inventing those sports – and give them the creativity to invent such things.  And does that mean that God didn’t create people to have talent and abilities to play and succeed at those sports?  And does that mean God didn’t create the people who like to watch (and even make sad attempts at participating) in those sports?

Let’s flip it around…

Say you like sports, but you think art and music and drama are dumb.  Does that mean God didn’t create those people and give them the skills and ability to create art or write music or plays?  And does that mean God didn’t create people who have an appreciation for and find enjoyment in all types of art and music and drama? (Yes, ALL types!)

This goes for just about anything… people who wear different types of clothes or like different types of music or movies.  People who have a different favorite subject than you.  People who believe differently than you – religious or political or any other way.

How often do you find yourself silently (or maybe not so silently) saying the words “stupid” or “dumb” or “idiot” or “moron” or “pointless” when you encounter people with different likes and dislikes than you (and it doesn’t have to be about the person)?

Maybe you like Action movies instead of Fantasy or Sci-fi?  Does that mean God didn’t give those people the imagination to create or enjoy those movies?

Maybe you like soccer instead of football?

Maybe you like country music instead of rock?

Maybe you like English instead of Math or Science?

Maybe you think it’s important to protect endangered animals, or be more Green to protect the environment, or buy local produce to support your community or eat organic foods.

How often do you try to convince God to close His mind to think like you rather than ask Him to open your mind so you can really love (and not just patronize) your neighbor as yourself?

(Disclaimer: I’m not trying to say that the decisions people make about using their God-given abilities, skills, and creativity are always right.  But He did give them those things and He did give them free will to choose.)