Faithinflipflops

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Archive for the tag “hope”

Baseball & Believeland

If you live in Northeast Ohio, you know that the Cleveland Indians are in the World Series…the first time since 1997.

My love for the Cleveland Indians stems from my childhood. Cleveland Indians baseball playing in the background was the soundtrack of my childhood summers. My mom would sit on the back picnic table listening to the game on the radio, drink Pepsi, chain smoke while keeping box scores of EVERY. SINGLE. GAME. Every year she would say, “This is the year the Indians win the pennant.” And she believed it.

The names Herb Score, Andre Thornton, Joe Charboneau (remember the song, “Go, go Charboneau…he’s Cleveland’s rookie of the year”), Mike Hargrove (the human rain delay), Len Barker, Joe Carter, Julio Franco, Toby Harrah, Brook Jacoby, Duane Kuiper, Rick Manning, Pat Tabler just to name a few were common names heard in my house. Buddy Bell was her all-time favorite player.

She passed away the summer of 1987.

 

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Me and my mom a month before she passed away.

 

I fell more in love with Cleveland baseball in the 90s. This was the era of Sandy Alomar Jr., Albert Belle, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez (he made me laugh with his antics), Carlos Baerga , Jose Mesa, Charles Nagy, Kenny Lofton, Eddie Murray and my all-time favorite play, Omar Vizquel. I was able to go to spring training with my sister and brother-in-law when the Indians were in Winter Haven, Florida. So fun.

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I still have my Omar Vizquel socks..and t-shirt… ❤ 

In 1995, the Indians made it to the World Series for the first time since 1948. I was a junior in college in Virginia. My sister, Nancy, called me at school and said she had an extra ticket to game 3 of the World Series. My brother-in-law could not go. Did I want to go? DID I WANT TO GO? The game was Tuesday, October 24, 1995. I got up early that Tuesday morning drove 450 miles to my sister’s house. My dad came to her house so I could see him for a couple of hours before we went to the game.

I thought of my mom as they raised the American League pennant at the game. I remember feeling overwhelmed by emotion, wishing she could actually see it happen. The Indians won that night in 11 innings by a score of 7 to 6. When they scored the winning run, I remember the Jake going crazy. The place was electric. Strangers were hugging. It was incredible.

 

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We got back late to my sister’s house. I got up early again the next morning and drove 450 miles back to school. It. Was. Worth. It.

The Indians did not win the World Series that year. The Atlanta Braves did.

Two years later, the Indians returned to the World Series against the Florida Marlins. I had only been in ministry six months. I remember for game 7 I had strep throat but my boss made me go to an appreciation banquet the church was having for us because no one would believe I was really sick. He thought everyone would think I was faking it to stay home and watch the game. I wasn’t. The antibiotics I received the next day were proof. He recently apologized to me for that. Ha! I am still bitter about that series. It went to game 7. The Indians lost in the 11th inning. I cried. I was mad, as well. What frustrated me most about this series was the Marlins assembled a team for a year to simply win a championship. They dismantled the team the following year whereas the Indians had systematically built a strong team through time and their farm system. I am still really bitter. 😉 I have really strong opinions about loyalty and the purity of baseball. That’s what I love about this year’s Cleveland Indians. There are no real superstars. It is a team working together to get the job done.

The Cleveland Indians are the underdogs this year. That’s okay. The Cleveland Cavs came back when they were down 3 – 1 to win the world championship. The Cavs winning did something for Northeast Ohio’s psyche. It broke something. Some people say a curse…I don’t know what it is but it’s tangible and real.

This is our year. There is a pride and solidarity that comes with being from Northeast Ohio. I have not seen it in other parts of the country. A feeling of camaraderie and brotherhood that comes from going through battle together through the leanest of years. Watching Cleveland rebuild itself and rise from the ashes from the time the Cuyahoga River caught on fire and was called the Mistake on the Lake, through our tough sports years (the Drive, the Fumble, the Shot, Art Model taking the Browns out of Cleveland to Baltimore in the cloak of night) until now is inspiring and something we all should be proud of. Downtown is bustling. When the Republican National Convention came to town this summer, Cleveland shined brightly. The friendliness and unity were a beacon. After a few days, the professional protestors from both sides realized they could not get anything started so they moved on to Philadelphia, leaving our city the way they found it…full of pride and peace.

I guess after watching the Indians win game 1 of the World Series, I am feeling nostalgic. A family friend from childhood said to me tonight through Facebook, “your mom is keeping score”. I miss my mom. I am grateful for the love of baseball she instilled in me. And the optimism. She really did believe every year was THE year. I am also grateful for where I grew up. I love where I live (harsh winters and all). I especially love the people. Northeast Ohioans are gritty, tough, outspoken, fun, and optimistic. This is our year, Believeland.

Surrendering Dreams…

Yesterday in church we sang an old song from the early 90’s called “Surrender”.

The lyrics are:

Holy Father as we stand before Your throne

As we look upon Your face

We confess Your matchless grace

Lord and Savior, we have nothing without You.

There is nothing we can do

But to serve and follow You

     And surrender (And surrender)

     To surrender (to surrender)

     All our dreams, all we are, all that we are to become

     All our love

I felt yesterday that I was to lay all my dreams once again at the feet of Jesus. And I have dreams. Big dreams. And the older I get, the bigger they seem to get. Some seem impossible, others make me seem arrogant…

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And as I surrendered them once again, I felt God assure me that the dreams I had were God-given dreams. And that I didn’t have to make them happen or fret. I just need to be faithful in all that He puts in front of me. And He gently reminded me that all of this is not about me. It is about Him and what He has called me to do to bring Him glory and honor. And that I am to simply live and embrace life — not always looking for the story, He will give me the story. I need to let Him fulfill the dreams and don’t be a Sarah and try to make them happen yourself.

And God has a way of driving the point home. Last night I watched the first part of the miniseries “The Bible”. In it, the story was told of God’s promise to Abraham and how he would be the father of many nations through his wife Sarah. The dream seemed impossible to Sarah due to her age and the fact that she was barren. And she wanted it to be true oh so badly! So she took matters into her own hands and made a mess of things…and innocent people got hurt in the process…

I am incredibly excited and nervous about the season of life I am in right now. I cling to God and His promise found in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” I will continue to dream big, to be faithful, and to trust that God will bring all things to pass. And I don’t have to make them happen.

The Leaf

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As I was leaving my house yesterday to go to a Christmas dinner, I noticed this leaf. It had somehow gotten wedged in a crack in my sidewalk. It struck me. I hurriedly put my dish for the dinner in my car and went and grabbed a camera and took a few photos. I went to my party and came back home and it was still there. Standing straight. Proud. Resilient. This evening as I type and the rain falls down, the leaf is still wedged in the crack. I wonder how long it will stay there. Will it be there when I wake up in the morning. And why am I so fascinated by this leaf?

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Maybe its the fragility and strength that the leaf represents. Or that it is standing when it really should not be. And it is perfectly shaped and beautiful.

I am a lot like that leaf (not the perfectly shaped part 😉 ) I know how fragile and weak that I am. But even in my fragility and weakness I know that I am strong. I have been able to stand even when difficult challenges  have come my way. The Apostle Paul writes in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians “And  He (Jesus) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities,  so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) No matter what has come my way…God has helped me stand strong like that crack in the sidewalk is helping the leaf to stand. But unlike the leaf, I know that God will not let me go.

When the wind and rain of life buffet me, I may bend and feel like breaking but I won’t. His strength is enough. It shines through my weakness. His power rests on me.  And I guess that is why I am so enamored by the leaf. God’s power and strength shines through that leaf standing in the sidewalk. The leaf represents HOPE and assurance that God has not and will not ever let me go.

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