OK, the blog deadline isn't until tomorrow, but the possibility of having time to write tomorrow is even more remote than the chance of me putting together a couple of nuggets of inspiration or insight tonight. So I'm going for it tonight!
This will be a hodgepodge again; as much as anything it's my attempt to record these thoughts or observations for possible future consideration. So, here goes:
-- Note to myself at 12:30 a.m. Saturday: Baseball season has just started and I can already tell I'll have to set some boundaries or I'm going to be worthless. I seem to be able to just sit there and watch on TV day after day. I sometimes wonder how in the world people with season tickets for a major league baseball team get anything at all accomplished in life.
-- Note to myself at 12:17 a.m. Monday, after watching Texas Rangers win the finale of a home-run laden sweep of the Boston Red Sox in the afternoon and then watching the Texas Aggies beat Stanford in the semifinals of the NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four: Definitely gonna need to establish some boundaries and set some priorities. Cannot waste time following sports. It's so easy for me to get caught up. I just cannot let myself.
-- For the record, it's now 11:42 p.m. Monday, after 9 hours at work. I didn't watch the NCAA men's championship tonight, nor did I watch the Rangers (I do know they won and that Nelson Cruz extended his season-starting streak to four consecutive homers). And I will be setting the VCR to record the women's championship game tomorrow night when the Aggies and Notre Dame meet. So, maybe that's some progress.
-- This is a very challenging week at work. I thought it would be, and day one confirms exactly what I expected. A very hard-working, productive and gap-filling person is on vacation. She does stuff I don't think others even realize. I often help her out, but I cannot fill her shoes and have not been asked to. But it's hard for me not to try when I see things seeming to not get done on time or right. My goal is to not stress out and to keep track of how much I work. I guess I succeeded today. It requires prayer before, during and after. I prayed for wisdom to know when to speak up and when to stay quiet, and that seemed to be answered for the most part today. I'm grateful for that and so much more, including to be able to keep a good attitude.
-- I wrote last Tuesday about how I hoped the Texas A&M women's basketball team could beat Baylor that night to win the Dallas Regional and advance to the Final Four. I was afraid to get my hopes up. I worried that if I recorded the game, they would lose. Well, I recorded that game and they won, and then I recorded the national semifinal game Sunday (because it conflicted with Bible study) and they won that one, too. So the championship is tomorrow night (Tuesday). I'm working again, so I will record it. I hope they can win. I still don't pray for sports victories. But I know God knows it would make me and a bunch of people happy for them to win. (I also know God knows it would make a bunch of people sad. That's the way sports goes!) To watch this unheralded team and coach do as well as they've done so far, including beating No. 1 seeds the past two games, has been as enjoyable to experience as I thought it would. They are a team. They seem to have a perfect mix of pride and humility but above all a sense of team that I just love to see win. It seems like a different player comes through each time -- and then when you look back at each game, you see how several people had to come through each game. Isn't that what team sports are about? Watching them play inspires me.
-- The other thing I've been needing/wanting to write a few words about is just how hard March was and how glad I am to be through it. I wasn't expecting it to be that way at all, but starting with getting sick the last weekend of February, it seemed like each new day or week of March brought new challenges and frustrations. Even when I was over the cold or whatever, I was so far behind I couldn't decide where to start, and new deadlines and commitments kept coming up. I kept plodding along, trying to do the best I could, and stayed amazingly optimistic, sometimes to a fault (keeping me from going to the doctor when I needed to, perhaps). But finally, last Monday, after the worst seemed to be over and I just had a few more tasks to accomplish -- I just wanted to give up. I did not think I could get past these last things. My prayers didn't seem to be helping. So I asked others to pray for me as well. And sure enough, that mental paralysis dissipated and I was able to get the things done that I needed to do. Of course, what I've been reminded of every day since the month ended is that, yes, every day still brings new challenges. I don't know where I get the idea it won't be like that. Wishful thinking, I guess.
-- And even as March was such a struggle in some ways, especially physically, there were many amazing joys. Topping the list was my Dad's 85th birthday (March 20) weekend followed by his successful surgery to get a pacemaker. Throughout my struggles, my Mom and Dad were shining lights of inspiration and an example to not give up and just do my best to do the next right thing.
-- In summary: What I learned in March: Keep praying, keep obeying (or dare I say trying to, although I know I keep falling short) and keep giving the glory to God.