Grove, Oklahoma, US
Via ASSIST News Service

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise will always be in my mouth” - Psalm 34:1 (CEB).


PICTURE: Enrica Bressan/

It was a game “where the real action took place off the field".

This subtitle appeared above an article titled 'Take Me Out to The Blackberry Patch' in a recent edition of Reader’s Digest. The article was written by Ernie Johnson, Jr, sportscaster and host of NBC’s Inside the NBA.

In the article, Johnson recalls a little league game of eight-year-olds when the baseball score was tied. During a time-out, so the coach of Johnson’s team could discuss strategy, they noticed two of their outfielders had disappeared into the brush to retrieve a fastball.

During the search, the two missing players discovered a blackberry patch, delaying the game as they feasted on the “mother lode of ripe and apparently delicious blackberries,” he says.

Johnson doesn’t recall the outcome of the game, but the incident struck a chord for his father, a major league pitcher in the 1950s. From then on, says Johnson, “it simply became ‘the blackberry moment'".

When his father transitioned from the playing field to a sports broadcaster, he became a popular speaker at events. While his dad shared stories about the notable stars he had played beside during his career, he always ended his speech with “the blackberry moment".

The story, writes Johnson, “has become, in many ways, central to my perspective on work, relaxation - shoot life. It’s a kind a parable about not being afraid to step away from the game (translated: the job, the meeting, the list of emails, the seemingly pressing matter at hand) to appreciate the unexpected, unscripted moments.”

Our pastor recently introduced a new sermon series titled, 'Bless to Me', focusing on our faith journey, which is not stagnant, but an invitation to have a real-life experience, to engage in life with other people and with God’s glorious creation, to take in what we might have otherwise missed in our hurry to rush through life.

Rushing to accomplish our goals means we overlook people God has placed in our lives. We miss opportunities to bless others, which in turn blesses us - a “bless to me” moment.

In our busyness, we often overlook those “blackberry moments", the things we take for granted, sunrises, sunsets, the glory of God’s creation, His marvelous handiwork. We forget how present He is in our life.

Recently, a neighbor pointed out a raccoon living in a large oak tree growing in my yard. Sitting on her deck one day, she noticed the raccoon’s head poking from the hole, which faced her direction. I grabbed my camera to take photos as the animal climbed farther from his hiding place and made eye contact.

Later that day, the raccoon emerged and rested on a branch facing my deck. Again, my camera captured the moment. After looking at the photos and talking to my neighbor, we discovered there were actually two raccoons – and they were expecting kids. What a blessing!

Ask God to sharpen your senses so you don’t miss those “blackberry” or “bless to me” moments.