Gone are the days that you can pick who will win the NCAA tournament by looking at seeding. Today’s athletes are so complete that even the lowest seed has a path to the final four. UMBC proved this with the total dismantling of Virginia. With the lucrative payouts of the NBA super talented players are often gone after one season. This leaves mid major schools with recruiting four year players by default. They can’t compete with the power schools. In the current atmosphere these mid major schools are playing upper class men against freshmen and sophomores. Now we can argue all day long about the one and done. We can argue about the talent of these players versus experience. I am not going there, at least not in this post. The point I want to make is that it definitely levels the playing field. In the early years of the tournament you had the power schools with veteran super talent. The mid majors was stuck with just veterans. It was a win, win for the power universities. They had it all. That way has been replaced in today’s tournament. You either have veterans or underclassmen that are super elite talent. Sure on a given night talent is talent and it will prevail, but tournament is not a given night. These veteran seniors that have poured their heart and soul in a program want to keep playing. One more game, one more half, one more possession. They don’t want to put that jersey up for good. Just one more. Then with all the pride and heart comes a super nova over these players. They suddenly play stronger. They play taller. They play faster. Four years of playing experience clones it’s self into the talent they were lacking as high school seniors. It is win or bust. Once again I am not saying experience is better. Although it does level the playing field in the new era of the NCAA tournament.
Have you ever had the chance to sit down and talk to the elderly? What about the chance to sit down with a grandparent? I treasure the talks I have had with the older ones about their lives and the things they done in earlier years. In a conversation with my grandmother it come up about the clothes she wore as a little girl. She said her mama made her skirts out of old flour sacks. Talk about in style! She said she never complained because that was the norm. The other little girls of the time was wearing the same thing. Times was hard back then. There wasn’t the luxury we have now. Cars was scarce. People either rode a horse or walked where they needed to go. Some folks then would wait for the rural delivery mail carrier and pay a nickel to ride somewhere with them. People made do with what they had. Often chickens eggs would be traded at the gristmill for cornmeal or flour. Every one had their own cow that had to be milked morning and night. Hogs were killed in the late fall as a community event and salted down to preserve the meat. People often sold the cream off the extra milk at cream stations. Whole milk was not wanted then. Just the cream. The way, or by product off the cream was fed to the hogs. Women churned their own butter. My grandmother said she could remember how happy her mother was when they got their first butter churn. Up until then they used a dashboard style. She said this was much slower. The men worked in the field with mules and a strong back. Gardens was canned, dryed buried to be preserved. Potatoes then were dug and put in a hole lined with straw in the barn to be kept. The hole had to be deep enough to be below the frost line so they would not freeze. Pumpkins was planted in the corn and were picked and fed to the livestock. Families had several children in those days which would start to work at a very young age to help feed their family. Education was often all most obsolete. My grandparents was a few of the blessed ones and got a high school education. This would be compared to college in this time. Most children of the area did not get a chance to go past grade school. In our Kentucky area tobacco was the major cash crop. Supplies would be charged at the country store and paid when the crop was sold in the fall. People struggled but had to much pride to ask for a handout. They loved one another, helped their neighbor, raised their children as they was raised. They watched their children grow everyday instead of taking them to day care that has to happen so often in today’s time. Yes times was hard but in a way I envy the days of old.
Have you ever looked at a woods in the horizon or from a hill? You can pick out two, three, maybe four standing tall above all the rest. These trees, no doubt are old and strong. After looking at these trees one day I had a thought of how these big strong trees is exactly how we should live day by day. Like the big oak trees in the woods that stands strong above the rest, we should stand strong in what we believe and how we live. Through the generations things have been handed down from parents to children. Just the way their parents shown and taught them. From religion to politics to the way we dress has been passed down. As one generation leaves out another is born to take the family name forward. The winds of the world and the evil that presents it’s self from time to time is no different than the strong storms that the big oak trees have stood. I have witnessed forest after a strong storm and seen trees that were twisted,uprooted and broken up all over the woods in total destruction but there stands that giant oak tree in all her beauty standing strong. You see it is just like the human race. You have got to be anchored in something to stand for. Something to believe in. You have got to have a purpose. The people of the world that go with this for a while and then something else for a while never get established in anything. Just like the storm beaten trees of the forest they are twisted and bent to believe as someone else or maybe as what is popular if you will have it. The person who stands strong even if it isn’t the popular way will be standing after the storms of life roll through. When time comes that these big trees are cut or die out if another tree isn’t planted and established quickly then the underbrush will over take the land. The briars and vines will grow so thick that the possibility of another big tree growing is gone. The landscape is changed forever. Just as our ancestors have pass away if we don’t stand strong to our upbringings and teachings then our family name is altered forever. I know as the world modernizes some things have to change but most likely what was good enough morally for our grandparents should be good enough for us. Love your neighbor, be kind, be slow to take offense but quick to forgive. In modern times these are principles that are not popular it seems.You get one name in life. Don’t be bent and persuaded to bend and twist to evil. Be like that giant oak tree and stand strong for what is right!
In the long hard journey of life there is a time for everything. No matter if you are a child or one hundred years old. There is a time to sow and a time to reap. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to work and a time to rest. A time to be happy and a time to be sad. As a child you are born completely helpless. Unable to survive on your own. Soon you start to learn and adapt. Before long babies grow to toddlers and begin to crawl and talk. They must wait for the right time for nature to occur. A child cannot walk or run before they crawl. Just as a tree cannot bare fruit before it blooms. Sometimes we want to grow to fast, do to much, get to big before it is time. No matter if it is the child trying to crawl or the medical intern wanting to be a surgeon, it takes time. There is steps in life that you cannot skip or jump over. We often start careers at the very bottom and envy to be on top. It does not work this way. You have got to live, learn and grow. If there is something in the process you dont like then change it when you get there for someone else. Don’t forget where you come from or where you intend to go. Keep your dreams close at hand and pray daily. Be kind in the process as others have had to make the journey you are making right now. If you get knocked down just remember there is a time to get back up. Be diligent and truthful in your dealings. Give when you can for there will be a time to gather. Treat others as you want to be treated. Be happy for it may help someone that is sad. When life’s journey draws to a close people will remember you by the fruit you bore, not by how much money was in the bank, but by the good ( or bad ) deeds you have done. As you go through life and face trials, tribulations, sad times, and hardships just remember there is a time for everything. It will soon be time for things to brighten up and get better no matter the circumstance. There really is a time for everything!
In the time we live in it is often considered old fashioned to have one partner or companion. It is often that a man and women fall in love, just to find that a few years down the road the lust fades with each passing day. The person you fell in love with is not the person you are married to now so many people think. Men and women often let their self go, get to consumed in their career, let the financial stress of life get to them, and let the constant strain of raising a family burden them. These are all marriage killers. A marriage is something that requires constant work. I have found that anything in life takes work. Marriage is no different. Just as you have to maintain your car so do you have to maintain your marriage. You wouldn’t consider driving your car for twenty years without changing your oil. You have got to work to keep your marriage strong just the same. No matter how busy you are, always have time for your spouse. Tell them you love them outside the bedroom. Send them flowers just to let them know they are special. Spend time together, even if it is just for a slow walk down the street. If you are feeling far apart, chances are they are too. Work at it. Everyone will argue and personally I think it is healthy to disagree every once in a while as long as it don’t get out of control. If you never disagree just a little then it is a warning sign that one partner is to controlling. Compromise. You should go into a marriage with the attitude that it is 60/40 not 50/50. You should give 60 and expect to get 40 back. If both partners do this then you have a lot better chance of spending many years together. I got married very young to my spouse and people said we were to young. It would not last. They don’t know what they are getting in to. Sure things haven’t always been perfect by any stretch of the imagination but at the end of the day we talk and work things out. I recently told my teenage son when he was having dating troubles that if you love someone you have got to treat them like a prince or princess. My wife is the most precious thing in my life. The older I get the more I love her and the more I value her companionship. Sure there has been times through the years that money was tight but we always found a way to spice things up just a little. A Friday night dinner, meeting for lunch, flowers unexpected, a small gift, quiet walk. These are all things that I cherish with my significant other. If things are getting bad then to talk to each other. If you once loved each other enough to get married then you can find that love again. I couldn’t imagine life without my wife and would give my life for her in a second. So many men that I work with talk bad about there wife and how bad it is. I tell them if it is that bad then fix it. Don’t just give them up for someone else. Often grass isn’t really greener on the other side. Once you burn that bridge there is no repairing it. I know there is situations where it can’t be helped and divorce has got to happen. If you are in that spot just remember there is someone out there that is your soul mate, but it will also require maintenance. If you follow these steps and pay close attention then you will get to experience the blessing of a good marriage.
In days of old all you needed was a good name and a handshake. Country stores all over the country accepted a shake and a promise on payment. Many, many times my grandfather said he charged at the country store and paid at the end of the year when the crops were sold. Those days are gone. Today it is hard to find a friend good enough to loan you money on a handshake. This is where the power of the almighty credit score comes in. No matter if you are trying to get a new job, get a loan for personal use or buy a house it depends on that score. Even if you get approved a lower score can cost you a lot more money in interest rates. You cannot get a good score overnight. It takes work to get that good score so it should be took care of and maintained. How do you do this you ask? The easy things are the ones you probably already know. Make your payments on time, dont borrow excessively all at once and time of history of credit. These are very important but there is more to a good score than this. A big thing that gets a lot of people in trouble is credit utilization ratio. You might think because you have a credit limit of $10,000 that it is ok to go borrow this amount. Makes since, right? Wrong. Banks and financial institutions look very hard at credit utilization. They like for it to be under 30%. On a $10,000 card that would mean that you could borrow $3,000 with out it hurting your credit much. Utilize personal loans if your credit card debt gets to high. Watch you credit report. You did have to buy reports in the past but most credit cards now have free credit score look ups. Stay on top of it. Report anything that is wrong immediately to the credit bureaus. You can watch your score and see it fluctuate regular. You will learn what helps it and what makes it fall. Don’t get to many hits from loan applications. A hit is anytime someone runs a report. These stay on your report for two years! Once you have an established mortgage stay with it. The longer the history of good payment the better the score. Work with medical facilities to make payments in house if you owe any. Medical debt hits a lot of people hard, Once this debt is turned over to a credit bureau it is on your record for years. It drains a score. Try to keep this from happening at all cost. One last note before closing. There is companies out there now that advertise getting you a lower payment on credit card debt by dealing and negotiating with the companies on your behalf. BEWARE! Yes they often will get you a lower payment and debt settlement but this severely damages your credit score. This is the same as default and these companies pretending to help you make the money off the transaction while your credit is ruined. Just remember to be smart and pay attention to your score. You too will see the power of credit scores!
Just as the flower pushes through the soil in the spring and begins to grow, every man, women, boy and girl in the vast world was born sometime in history. As that baby, the first air you breathe sets in a chain of events that in its self is a miracle. No matter what your religious beliefs as soon as you are born you are destined to die. What you do with the time between birth and death is up to you. Life is like a hour glass. When it begins the sand starts pouring through and as a child it seems like eternity before all that sand could get through that glass. Soon the innocence of that child leaves and we venture through adolescence. We think we are on top of the world. No worries, no pain. Not thinking even once about that hour glass in the background. We take risk and do dumb things without ever thinking of the end. Before we know it we meet the companion of our dreams and set out with nothing more than the clothes on our backs into the hostile world on the horizon. No longer are we protected by Mama and Daddy. We are on our own, still not thinking about that hour glass. We have our children and the hard times come, looking for God to guide us out. The work it takes to pay the bills requires long hours, often times leaving our children behind at child care. Often times we are so tired on days off we ignore the children and their wants to rest our tired bodies. A few years pass and we manage to get that big promotion at work that we have worked so hard for. We tell our family at home but they are not excited for they are preparing for college and their lives ahead. With them driving down the road toward their own life we stop and look over our shoulder at that hour glass that we had forgotten about and think, my gosh a lot of sand has poured through. Grandkids come along and you love to play with them but wish you could see your children more. They are so busy and tired from their own careers they don’t have time to come around. You finally reach retirement and can afford that big rv to travel the world. The whole time though that hour glass is sitting on your shoulder. You can here the sand pouring through. Man, how different it is than when you were young. Now looking out the window of the rest home you think of your great- grandchildren and their hour glass that just begun. Yours no longer matters. It is their but life has passed you by and you no longer have to worry of the disappearing sand. The hope is there that those new additions to the family will stop, enjoy life along the journey, and do the good things that matter,for life is like a hour glass.