Covering my angst with the soothing wisdom from my mother's prayer journals

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It’s Great to be A Tennessee Vol!

035I Said It’s Great

To Be

A Tennessee


Cheering for the Tennessee Vols is one of my favorite pass times. My favorite Vol wore #36 as a member of several championship teams from 1966-1970. Because he coached for over twenty-five years, he attended his first game as a spectator when he was in his fifties. He had no clue it was a social event and worried that the fans were not as focused on the game as he was.

My thought was, “Thank goodness!”

I was accustomed to watching his games with other coaches’ wives. Watching with my coach was, well, a whole new ballgame. We made the necessary adjustments, and have for many years enjoyed home games in Neyland Stadium.

Saturday we both attended the UT/Florida game but he attended with his three brothers while I got to go with my daughter.

By now everyone knows Josh Dobbs completed five second-half passes for touchdowns. It was Tennessee’s first victory against the Gators since 2004. The atmosphere was electric the second half, but the first half resembled a disaster movie and I’m not just talking about the game.

As we wound higher up the ramps to our seats, the walkways resembled scenes from a disaster movie. Many early bird fans overheated and sat or lay along the way. At least four times we plastered ourselves against the walls of the narrow passages so emergency vehicles could get through.

The anticipation of a girl’s football weekend totally eclipsed any recollection of the usually sweltering atmosphere of Neyland every time Tennessee plays host to Florida.  I also forgot I was three years older than the last time I was required to access seats in a section nearest heaven, but anytime I get to gallivant with a daughter, I’m in.

With enthusiastic Florida fans to the left of us and rowdy Rocky Toppers on the right, we watched as the Tennessee Volunteers gained momentum for a win that took them one step closer to the predicted SEC playoff game in December. Though it is a long season with worthy opponents ahead, Saturday the Vols looked like Champions in that checkered arena.

Football requires commitment from the fans as well as the players and winning is how we are all rewarded. As a teacher, I can’t resist a teaching moment. Lessons do abound in losses, but I prefer to teach from a win so FYI:


  1. There is no reason to pass out or freeze to death at a game so Google the temps. Assuming you’ll be fine might eventually put a burden on your companions. Take precautions. You many look cute in those jeans and cowboy boots, but you’ll look sad passed out from heat.
  2. Arrive at the game sober and stay that way. If you’re drunk you will be a pain in the rear for someone who may embarrass you or themselves. Everybody around you paid good money for their seats. A drunk does nothing to enhance the experience.
  3. Have faith. Josh Dobbs didn’t give up on his receivers. He came out the second half and threw to guys who couldn’t catch cold the first half. Some fans lost faith after Florida’s two TDs in the first quarter and went home. Look what they missed. Those who stayed till the end shared an amazing experience.
  4. Appreciate the power of redemption. At halftime the receivers asked Coach Jones for another chance. “Coach, throw to me.”
  5. A wise coach forgives past mistakes and allows for redemption.
  6. Step up and refuse to be beaten. The entire team responded to the coach’s challenge at halftime.
  7. Take on responsibility not excuses. Juan Jennings was one of the receivers asking for another chance. Josh sent that chance his way. Juan later said, “When I saw the ball coming I knew it was all on me.” A life lesson would be, “You may have dropped the ball many times, but you can still be spectacular.”

Mother wrote in her journal, “A reminder: Keep dreaming and believing and expect impossible things to happen In your life because sometimes the unlikeliest thing can come true in the twinkling of an eye.”







BJ (Butch Jones) Our Rescue Dog

The fourth Wednesday in October I went to get a pedicure before we headed for the Gulf Coast, and I came home with a puppy.

My friend and manicurist works with a rescue group and when she showed me this fluffy guy’s picture and told me he had only hours to live, something irrational clicked in my heart and off I went to the rabies center where I paid the $38.00 fee and brought him home.

Since we had planned to leave town for several days, we ask the vet to board and take care of him while we were gone. We also had him groomed so when we got back a healthy handsome dog awaited us. We named him BJ in honor of Tennessee’s football coach, Butch Jones.

It has been over three years since we had a dog, and like childbirth, with time you forget most of the aggravation. Another thing I forgot was that, like children, no two pets are alike and when BJ began to act like BJ instead of Bailey I had to readjust my thinking.

A mastiff, Bailey was a gentle slobbery giant. You could always see him coming and most of the time he was coming slowly. BJ, a little guy, can come from anywhere in a flash with a quickness that makes me nervous and reminds me I have no agility.

For over a week we have been training this pup to establish a routine we can live with, and though there have been a few mishaps, things are going well.
The vet said he was around three years old so I thought he would be past the chewing stage. I lost two wicker rockers and the cushions on them when our mastiff was teething. Though not as big, BJ is just as bad but without the slobber. He will chew, eat and swallow almost anything he finds.

Sunday we left him in the laundry room while we were at church. When we returned and opened the laundry room door, it seemed at first glance to be covered with snow. A closer look revealed the results of a bored dog who had found the paper towels stored under the pie safe.

It looked disastrous, and as I cleaned up the mess I muttered, “What in the world was I thinking?”

I’ve muttered that same phrase several times since then and have plotted graceful ways to ease him into someone else’s care.

The thing keeping me from putting a plan into action is not only the nagging belief that I should take care of this responsibility that I committed to, but that I may need this dog.

Taking him out in the morning allows me to see some spectacular sunrises.

Taking him for walks means I get more exercise and by bedtime I’m weary and fall into a deep sleep that lasts all night.

He reminds me that it’s not all about me and too often I think that if it’s not it should be.

His looks of love make me think he appreciates the effort.

I once said that we should all await the return of the Lord with the same devotion that Bailey waited for his master to return. He would sit patiently at the door while Don was gone, and upon hearing the truck turn the corner, that big old dog would break into a happy dance and bark with joy.

BJ’s joy is more subdued, but just as sincere.

Mother wrote in her journal, “Every miracle large or small begins with an act of obedience.”

She was writing of spiritual principles, but her words remind me that teaching obedience to a pet is the first step to a rewarding relationship for pet and human, and the results will be worth the effort.