Hard to believe I haven't posted since May.... that is all the proof I need to confirm life is at a full court press right now.... what a year! Oldest daughter wedding on Feb. 9 and daughter #2 marriage is July 20. We moved one to Johnson City, TN, moved another one local, and daughter #3 has been in Italy and in Israel this summer... had to put our dog down... and work has been insane with revamping football and doing a major facility overhaul.... and on top of that been nursing a sports hernia.... which has really hampered my exercise.... so to put it mildly, I have been straining quite a bit and getting ground down...
and in the background, I feel the urge of life leaking away... in just a few weeks I will turn 55... I just had to confirm that by the way ...LOL
Here is what Siri told me..... when I just now asked her....
You are 54 years, 11 months, and 1 day old.
You were born on a Thursday and have been alive for 20,058 days!
So, if my blog writing is a sort of diary for posterity for loved ones... what is my report? How am I doing?
I am winning.....though I struggle... and on my way to a glorious victory... regardless of my enemies who never stop.
I am blessed to receive the fruit of the prayers of others- when I read this, I almost feel like Paul is praying for me.
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,  so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;  being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy;  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (ESV)
I wanted to comment on this...because this is what God continues to point out.... am I going to take on the way of winners or adopt the lean and outlook of losers?
THE EVER LURKING UNDERCURRENT OF DARKNESS
These things are so easy to write.... right?
When I speak of relentless positivity... it can seem so insincere and petty.... unrealistic optimism can be a mental illness as well... it never takes long for idealistic ambitions to be ground away in broken promises and unfulfilled vows.
No one is immune from the shudder of unspeakable darkness... tragedy happens, evil exists, and our own hearts are prone to dive in head first to rash decisions and suicidal habits.
ATHLETICS AS AN EXAMPLE
I am just beginning a new year of athletic evaluations and plans.... we had quite a year of athletic success and achievement. But it is funny, every team I have ever been around... every year... every school... every sport.... every coach... has a surrounding drum beat of negativity. It has universal qualities to it. Any human enterprise will have the entrapments of human sin nature, and I am prone to it as well.
A key ingredient in any successful competition campaign is how well a team can rise about the drains of energy and progress.... selfishness, envy, trust issues....
A part of that list is as old as Paul's letter I quoted earlier...
 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices (ESV)
This doesn't mean we don't address issues and seek to grow... but the negativity is always there... and you can choose to dwell on the deficits... or you can learn to count blessings and find gratitude, joy, peace, .... and hope.
And it ALL has its own momentum... positive energy breeds optimism and hope.
Pessimistic poison breeds doubt, distrust, and discontentment.
FINDING A QUIET PEACE BASED ON REALITY
This is the pursuit... can I find a life music that counters the consistent drumbeat of darkness?
That DARK symphony is NOT going away and the Malicious Maestro never takes a break... he loves the sound of human misery and sorrow. It is the soundtrack of hell and is constantly adding new cries and groans... I add to the echo too often as well.
There is only one place that combats the noise of negativity..... back to Colossians...
 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (ESV)
God's Word is my only remedy... it adds the words to my prayers... and perspective to my circumstances.
For example... when I re-read the highlighted opening to this blog in God's eternal view... it sounds like a lot of 1st world whining.... not the holy habit of winning.
It gets me to another day.... and helps me hang on until the clouds give way to sunshine.