Anchored

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I’m feeling a little “anchored-out” recently. Not for any deep philosophical reason. But because anchors are embellishing just about everything! Jewelry, napkins, signage, pillows, fabrics, dishware, you name it! I feel like shouting, “Hey! Not everyone has a boat or a beach house. Relax with all the anchor stuff!” And really, I get it, summer is approaching and vendors want to spark your summer sentiments. “You should buy this lovely pillow with a beautiful navy blue anchor on it and then imagine yourself peacefully sailing on that boat you can’t afford. Ahh, but you can afford this pillow.” My recent anti-anchor sentiments must stem from the simple fact of over exposure. Or that I have “beach house envy”. I prefer to think it is reason one.

 

My sorority, Delta Gamma’s, national emblem is none other than, you guessed it…the anchor! So in my search to re-bond with the mighty anchor, I looked up scripture and the definition.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul. A hope that is firm and secure.”
Hebrews 6:19

 

“(1) A heavy device that is attached to a boat or ship by a rope or chain and that is thrown into the water to hold the boat or ship in place. (2) A person or thing that provides strength and support. (3) A large store that attracts customers and other businesses to an area.”

So what we find is hope, strength, support and attracts #’s; all good things. An anchor is meant to hold us strongly and securely in a place where we want to be.

Bama FanMy anchor-clad sorority days were anything but strong and secure because looking back, I really didn’t know where I wanted to be. For this chapter in my life, I let God know that this was my time and He could wait for me on the other end. This was my time for studying and theme parties. (Not in that order.) The Jesus theme only to emerge on a few Sundays when I decided I could use a sermon or help on a few exams.

Being raised in a faithful family doesn’t automatically provide the strength/anchor needed to endure the pressures of the world as a young adult. (Or an older adult for that matter.) We can’t piggyback on someone else’s faith, we must own it for ourselves. We must seek answers in order to have an authentic faith with staying power; the kind that anchors us and gives us true strength and hope.  If not, our boat will drift perilously.

shutterstock_316639457Be aware that there are many false anchors out there; available a-la-carte. How are you going to know the difference if you are not anchored? Is it time to stop treading water? Try diving into your Bible and start thinking from scripture. Strong recommendation: Get in a Bible study. Like a student, you have the opportunity to broaden your knowledge and foundation. With the King of Kings as your anchor, your life will never be the same again.

(I think I’ll go out and see about an anchor door knocker. – Reunited)

“He reached down and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.”    Psalm 18:16

 

“Amidst the confusion of the times, the conflicts of conscience, and the turmoil of daily living, an abiding faith becomes an anchor to our lives.” Thomas S. Monson

 

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.”    Isaiah 43:2

 

“Hope is the anchor of our souls. I know of no one who is not in need of hope – young or old, strong or weak, rich or poor.”    James E. Faust

“Oh, for Grouting Out Loud!”

 

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We are about to embark on a long overdue renovation project. Our early 1970’s master bathroom is about to take a giant leap into the “here and now”. Gone will be the tiny bathtub that can only hold a small child or a hobbit! Gone will be the shower curtain that blows in and sticks to your side during each and every shower! Gone will be the harvest yellow remnants of groovy flower decals; meant to keep you from slipping and un-jarable with the best of scrapers! Hello to a world of light, space, function, and a peaceful color palette.

shutterstock_148016765I am working with some very cool designers on this endeavor. They are extremely patient with me, as I had forgotten how many choices are involved in a renovation. Years of being an HGTV addict and Pinterest enthusiast have not made the innumerable choices any easier. A strange pressure is building up inside. I think it’s that perfectionist problem popping up? I want to get it right after all this time of dreaming and planning it in my head. I have to remember, it is only a bathroom, relax.
Its tile choosing day and I feel like a kid at Christmas. I stand there, spin in a full circle
thinking… “how in the world do you choose from all of this?” Architecture and Color

Then, I remember, someone is helping me. Phew! Some people get fascinated by who will be the last American Idol, I’m finding myself fascinated over a tiny tile that has been picked out especially for our bathroom. When looking at this small tile sample, you see shiny white stain-glass tiles in the shape of simple leaves. However, when you add the grout surrounding the tiles, the color seems to change. The grout color is reflecting off of the glass tile. The surrounding grout not only does its job to hold the tile pattern together, it actually creates a more beautiful color and more dramatic pattern to the tiles. Its very appearance changes depending on the grout tint it surrounds. This seemingly minor detail makes a major difference on the finished product. A big one, particularly because there are lots of gaps to fill!

shutterstock_148016513My deep thought alarm went off … We are the white tile. Beautifully and perfectly made. Shiny pure from being made in God’s image and in turn reflecting that brilliance. The grout is what and who we surround ourselves with. It is what gives us a deeper color and makes us “pop” instead of fading into the background. It holds us together to stand alone as a strong person and cements us together as a community. (The body of Christ). The finished product is a beautiful mosaic that makes a grand and profound statement.

Grout is used to fill voids. How do we fill voids of our lives? Ask God to reveal the substance of your grout. Is it reflecting his brilliance? If changes need to be made, there is no better time than the present; here and now.

“For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body, so also in Christ.” Romans 12:4-5

 

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Jeff Kemp ~ “Facing the Blitz”

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*Blitz: noun\blitz\a: blitzkrieg, an intensive all-out attack or campaign…b: a sudden overwhelming bombardment…c: a rush of the passer-by a defensive linebacker, back, or end in football.

**LIFT: Life Is For Transformation.

There are numerous sports books out today that share game winning advice with you. Jeff Kemp’s new book “Facing the Blitz” is in a different league altogether. Over the years, Jeff has become a blitz-ologist. (Can’t find definition in dictionary?). Each thought-provoking and often dramatic scenario draws you closer to understanding what it takes to become your best self. But not in that self-centered, ego-centric way. Jeff shares about the importance of investing in other’s thus building strong, healthy, God-centered relationships.

Jeff spent 11 quarterback seasons in the tumultuous NFL; playing for the Rams, the 49ers, the Seahawks and the Eagles. . His relationships with God, wife Stacy, and 4 sons are his greatest passion and reason for his desire to build energetic, purpose-driven families. . This book is for anyone who dares to care enough to make a genuine impact on other people’s lives and in the process capturing their own true identity. It’s about thinking long term and not about the quick fixes. It’s not a book about the past… it’s about the present and the future (Warning: Don’t read this book if life hasn’t thrown you any punches to the gut.)

Before we get to your book, can you tell us what it was like to play professional football in the shadows of your very famous quarterback and politician father, Jack Kemp?

I think the toughest part of the climb for me was coming from an underdog, small school (Dartmouth) situation. My dad did a great job of keeping expectations where they should have been. I, on the other hand, put a lot of pressure on myself. You don’t just get a spot on a team because daddy was a great QB. That doesn’t mean a thing when you get in that huddle.

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Have you ever had a desire to follow in your father’s footsteps and go into politics?

Growing up in the Kemp household and choosing to major in economics would make you think so. I have had inklings and many people have asked me this through the years. But I don’t have that raw love of politics and policy that dad had. He really wanted to affect laws in order to give people hope in prosperity. I prefer to concentrate on families… starting with my own. I wanted to be there to coach my boy’s teams and be present. My passion now is helping marriages and families to thrive, helping men find their identity and find solutions to problems in a world that is undercutting true love and the essentials of family.

Please share about role models in your life?

My father has always been about underdogs and was extremely good at “lifting”** people’s sight, vision, confidence, and initiative. My mom Joanne’s personality certainly has had great influence on me. She is all about the personal. Connecting and encouraging people and relationships. I also remember Chuck Obremski, Chaplin of the L.A. Rams in my book. He was a huge inspiration in my life. He taught Scripture, loved well and became one of my best friends. He was instrumental in helping both Stacy and me in our spiritual growth. His blitz was cancer. He died with no fear. Just joy of what was to come. He delighted in ‘fighting the good fight’ and pointing people to the real King and lasting Kingdom.

How important were Christian Youth Groups in your life?

Extremely important! I was mentored by small group leaders and learned much to shape my faith through bible studies and retreats. I gained some solid head knowledge, had several uplifting emotional spiritual retreats and got a good “flavor” of Christ.

You say that your success in college left you feeling empty. Can you share more about that?

Of course. I had a knowledge and strong belief in Christ but I was more focused on success, popularity and all that comes with being a college quarterback. I wanted God mainly as an ingredient in my success formula. Jeff was my purpose. Things went well…very well eventually. But, I was empty. God wanted way more for me. He wants to love us and for us to surrender to who He wants us to be. I have found that real joy comes when you let Him own your life, and find yourself serving others.

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You and Stacy have a wonderful marriage. How did you two get involved in marriage and family ministry together?

Well, we were having our own set of struggles in marriage. From the outside, everything looked perfect. My pro football career, we were blessed with great kids right away and we were committed to each other. But… it wasn’t fun. Our personalities are so extremely different except for the part where we are both dominant leader types. Both of us were 100% committed to God and we realized we had to conscientiously work on our marriage. We became involved in marriage conferences, watched videos, read books, and were mentored by older couples. We found ourselves surrounded by people reaching out to us who genuinely cared, were fun, interesting and most definitely, not preachy. Now this is what married couples really need. (It is important to note that people have no interest in being mentored by someone fake or seemingly perfect.) Soon we were doing learning and growing enough that we had to share it with others! We started inviting couples on the team to our house, neighborhood friends and church friends as well. Soon our pastor asked us to help in the ‘young married’ class at our church.

As a father of 4 boys, do you have any advice about raising kids in a difficult culture?

The main thing to keep in mind when raising kids is that they feel loved and validated, that they learn their identity is secure in God’s love and their parent’s eyes. Play with your kids. Build an energetic, fun relationship with them on their terms…what they’re interested in vs. what you are interested in. Inject a hyper-dosage of fun whether it be around music, sports, hiking, board games, etc. Enjoy them! Your children are more apt to adopt your values and faith if you lovingly do this. Preaching at them is not a winner.

Be sure to model love in your marriage. Date each other, be affectionate, resolve conflicts in front of your children. By truly loving your spouse, your children will develop a healthy sense of security. (Note: Jeff gives a beautiful example in his book about a divorced father that modelled love to his ex-wife thus impacting his daughters view on what kind of man she truly wants to marry herself. This book by no means leaves out divorced or single people.)

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Can you tell us about “Family Life”, your position there, and groups that you have worked with?

Family Life is a Christian organization that is devoted to supporting and mentoring families and couples to grow strong together. My official title is Vice President and catalyst for helping others. I spend the majority of my time networking and speaking on how to strengthen marriages and families to many groups like men’s conferences, churches, and marriage conferences. I network with groups like the Fatherhood CoMission, National Coalition of Ministries to Men, Pro Athletes Outreach, Athletes in Action, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Jack Kemp Foundation.

For more information go to: www.familylife.com

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Let’s talk about your new book “Facing the Blitz”. Can we start with an explanation of “the blitz”?

A blitz occurs when the defensive team attacks the offense with significantly more players than normal. This can be very bad or very good for the offense. It’s both dangerous and an opportunity. The key is being ready for it. A well-prepared offense looks for the blitz anticipates it and adapts to it. Some of the best scores come from plays that adapt to these intense situations. A bad thing can turn into a good thing if you’re prepared.

Why write this book and what do you hope it will accomplish for your readers?

So people can gain a strategy. Bad things happen, people face problems… whether it is personal, health, marriage, financial. People like football stories and metaphors. My hope is to teach through stories and help people strategize to face the blitzes that come their way. I want to help them make a positive impact on others. It’s about Turning negatives to positives and sharing with others.

What do you feel is your mission in life?

My highest priority in life is to intentionally love and uplift my God, my wife, and my family. I want God’s presence and love to fuel my life so that I may lift and unite other people to invest in relationships, teamwork, and family.

What advice for overcoming a complicated world do you detail in your FACING THE BLITZ?

The book goes over 3 simple principles or strategies.

Take a long-term view. (No quickie short term fixes)

Be willing to change. (Not about just hoping circumstances or others will change for you.)

Reach out to others. (Take your focus off yourself and focus on blessing others.)

Although those strategies sound simple, they are not easy to practice unless we see life through paradigm-shifting lenses. Team, not solo. Investor in relationships, not consumer. Connected to a power source greater than self.

To find out about the book, or sign up for Jeff’s free weekly 1-minute videos, please go to:

www.facingtheblitz.com

Here’s a recent video: http://www.facingtheblitz.com/investors-consumers-jeff-kemp/

Beauty at the Dump

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The expression “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” hit a new high in my book a few short years ago. I was being taxi momma for my son Jack and two of his little buddies when the topic of Spring Break came up. I recall thinking “Oh, no!” I knew both boys had amazing Spring Break trips, and we had stayed home doing Spring chores around the house.

shutterstock_323592167One friend very sweetly relayed stories of their trip to Maui with a dramatic snorkeling excursion, cool hotel and other assorted island adventures. The other, again, not in a braggadocios manner, shared about his trip to China and being a part of the Special Olympic ceremonies. Wow! Who in the world could top those? Then my son says, in the most enthusiastic tone, “I went to the dump with my mom and we threw so much stuff into it!” While acting out the motions with his arms, he went on… “You grab a hug trash bag, throw it in this giant dumpster and BOOM…CRASH…GONE! It was awesome!”

“From the mouths of babes.” I think of that car ride often when hearing about anyone’s fantastic adventure. I’ve also thought about it when we ourselves are on a family vacation. For some reason the innocence of it sticks in my heart. Going to the dump was a meaningful excursion for my son that day. I’m guessing that I, on the other hand, was probably saying to myself, “rasa-frasa dumpster.” Dare I say… “ALL moments matter?” It’s a beautiful thing to keep this sweet perspective in life. But sometimes it’s just plain hard to channel that inner 8 year old.

shutterstock_177227339You can’t avoid seeing the “high-life” on Facebook and other social media outlets. We hit “like” even when we feel like hitting “really?” While it is meant to be fun, sometimes a couple hours of scrolling down can bring out negative thoughts like jealously and envy. How do we battle our hardened adult mindsets and follow the lead of innocence? How about a little humility and gratitude?

Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life” says “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more about others.”

PurposeDrivenLifeHow true. The more I study the Bible and see the inner beauty of God’s message to us, the clearer my understanding that there is no place for measuring. Gratitude is the weapon against our hardened adult hearts. Whether you carry burdens that are big or small; whether you are going to Maui or the Dump; each day is a beautiful gift from God, and we must choose how to respond to that gift.

How about a visit to the dump this week? Got something weighing you down? Put it in one of your trash bags ~ throw it in… BANG, CRASH…GONE!

“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.” Colossians 3:15

 

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh