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

Leave a comment

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.”






Leave a comment

My Guest Blogger Shares Wisdom from a Conference in Kansas City, Missouri

I have a guest on my blog today. Actually, he’s one of my favorite people in the world which is a good thing because we’re married.  Don McLeary has a special place in his heart for young people, and as a former football coach had the opportunity to make an impact on many lives. His post is a tribute to others who acknowledge the importance of raising responsible kids.


In 1975, I attended a business conference in Kansas City, Missouri where the keynote speaker was a professor in psychology from a college in Colorado.

His topic was You Are What You Are Because You Were Where You Were Then, and he got my attention when he said children have decided how they view the world by the time they are three years old. By this age their sense of right and wrong has been established.

He went on to tell his audience that responsibility and character are developed at an early age, and most personalities are determined by the environment.

He talked about culture as it related to each decade. Beginning with the 1920’s and continuing to the current time – the 1970’s, he posed three questions:

  1. What was the biggest movie?
  2. What was the hit song?
  3. How did people get their kicks?

Answering these questions, he said, would give a snapshot of the culture of each decade. When he compared the answers, the differences were stark. The culture had changed dramatically, and those changes would affect future generations.

He also contended that character and responsibility were the top traits employers looked for when hiring new people to their companies. He noted that if you grew up on a farm you were probably taught responsibility.

This conference came to mind when I visited with a doctor from Oak Ridge a few years ago who told me about something that happened when he was a young man eking out a living on a farm in the 1930’s.

Finding the task impossible, he hopped a train to Detroit to find other work. Arriving at his destination he found long employment lines, but he was fortunate to land a job. Curious as to why he was hired, my friend asked the man who hired him and was told, “You grew up on a farm. I figured you were responsible.”

Responsibility is one of the most important characteristics a person can have to ensure a fulfilling life.   My hat’s off to the parents, grandparents, pastors, teachers, coaches and anyone else who pours time and energy into helping children become responsible. You are truly Making Something Happen.

Thanks Don for sharing your thoughts. Readers can read more of Don’s posts a

In her journal Mother wrote, “We must take full responsibility for our actions and confess them to God before we can expect Him to forgive us and continue His work in us.”