Lemons and Lemonade

free_lemonade_shutterstock_53368357_webFirst, a sweet recipe for homemade lemonade for these hot days.

You’ll need:

1 3/4 cups white sugar     8 cups water     1½ cups lemon juice

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled.
Remove seeds from lemon juice, but leave pulp. In pitcher, stir together chilled syrup, lemon juice and remaining 7 cups water.

And now, some sweet words from our Bill Bagents…

Lemons and Lemonade
Sometimes I like football a bit too much. In an effort to reduce stress and keep priorities in order, I missed a chunk of the New Year’s Day bowl games shopping with Laura. It worked out just fine. We found some sweet gifts that we hope to take to some super people in Cape Town later this year. I found a couple of books that were even better than I thought they’d be. One deals with hope and the other with sarcasm. It’s a perfect pairing for a person who loves and lives irony.

I’m able to be a bit philosophical about my team’s loss. On the season, they fell notably below expectations. Maybe one more loss will heighten their humility index and make them hungrier for improvement next year. Win or lose, my team is still my team.

With some of the other games, I was blessed not to have a dog in the hunt. Whatever happened, happened, and I didn’t much care. Sad to say that there was a time when I cared way too much about games, polls, predictions, and such. I used to think that a game couldn’t be completed unless I watched.
How dumb is that?

I was able to send a few emails of congratulation and condolence on January 2. Since my team was among the defeated, there was no temptation to gloat and no danger that the condolences would seem insincere. I’m not much into the idea that misery loves company, but Romans 12:15 is a solid principle, even when the source of tears is a ballgame.

In large measure we get to choose what we invest in, what we give to, and what we hurt over. One cost of being a fan is that you hurt when you lose. With little things like games, we dust ourselves off, get back up, and move along to more important matters. No one always wins. And there’s always next year.

When it comes to using lemons to make lemonade, I hope that I’ve finally learned:
• God is good all the time. With every disappointment, He can teach us something important about life. If we can’t find another lesson, we can always be reminded to anticipate the perfection of joy in heaven.
• Sometimes the other guy wins. Let him enjoy his moment. Don’t see his joy as demeaning toward you or as disrespectful of your feelings.
• If the other guy is disrespectful, be glad that it’s him and not you. Don’t sink to his level. Two wrongs not only don’t make a right, they often make the beginning of a war.
• God is great about helping us keep things in perspective. Consider Ecclesiastes 12. Choose to appreciate and enjoy the blessings of each day and of each stage in life. Respect God above all.
Remember Matthew 6:33. The needs and the good of the kingdom trump all other interests.
• If a hobby, habit, or recreational interest stops blessing you, either drop it or cut it back. That’s not quitting. Rather, it’s a strategic reallocation of resources. Adjust intelligently.
• Don’t trust the experts more than is merited. Name one person who was on the record predicting that five of the SEC West teams would lose their bowl games. Same with weather forecasts. Same with nay-sayers who tell us what can’t be done to the glory of God.
• Don’t put all hurts in the same category. Let the little stuff be little. Save your heart of hearts for the things that really matter.
• Never think of the pain of others as little. To live BIG, we must love BIG   (1 Peter 4:8). –Bill