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Survive and Advance

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Release Date: 11/12/2022

Squeezed show art Squeezed

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Cam's phone has been ringing. It's a lot of his small business friends and they're experiencing similar things. They're feeling pressure. They're feeling squeezed. ----- When an orange is squeezed, orange juice comes out. We know this. We know that sun and good soil and water and maybe some fertilizer help that orange develop that juice. We know the ingredients, we somewhat control the ingredients, and we know the goodness that comes from a squeezed orange. What happens, though, when you and I are squeezed? What happens when life puts pressure on you and me? What ingredients are we drawing on...

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Lent show art Lent

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Mardi Gras ended Tuesday for Cam. Immediately following Mardi Gras is the beginning of Lent and Cam struggles with what sacrifices he should make. ----- Lent. I struggle with Lent every year. How much suffering is enough to prepare my soul for the Easter arrival of the Lord? Is there enough? Who knows. There’s always someone suffering more; someone taking it to the next level. As a child it was ice cream. I gave up ice cream every year and dutifully reported it to my religion teacher as the assignment instructed. I love ice cream, vanilla especially. In fact, I’ve created an association...

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Dry January show art Dry January

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' it Real, Cam Marston has thoughts about this upcoming weekend. Mardi Gras is on us down here in Mobile, and that leads to some tough decisions. ----- Dry January ended last week. Dry January followed soaking wet, sodden to the bone December. I’ve never done Dry January before and after sodden December, I needed to give it a try. Aside from one small drink to celebrate my daughter’s twenty-first birthday, I drank no alcohol for thirty-one days. I’m not sure I’ve done that since I was a teen. The net result? I lost nine pounds. I slept very well every night for a...

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God Stop show art God Stop

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

What do you call it when your certain plans are suddenly upended? They're changed with no warning? You call it a God-stop. On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam shares his experiences with them.  ----- A friend told me a story about how he had applied for a job a long way from home. His potential new employer had said they were going to make a very attractive offer. My friend and his wife began discussing selling their home and moving their kids to a new school. It was certain to happen and then…it didn’t. The job offer never came. His calls to the new employer to get an answer or a...

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Twenty-One show art Twenty-One

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Cam spent Monday evening at a big party for a small group of twenty-one year olds. To say the least, times have changed. Here's what he saw. ----- A moment after midnight on March 4th, 1990, I stood on a barstool and declared loudly to the packed bar that I had just turned twenty one years old. I was in Boulder, Colorado. A moment later the bouncer had me by the shirt and said, “That means you used a fake ID to get in”, which was true. I was nearly carried, my feet barely touching the ground, to the door and tossed into the street. Oddly enough, the same story happened to my wife, long...

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Resident Cynic show art Resident Cynic

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

My real name is Charles. But Chuck and Chas live inside me. Chuck was trying to get out this week. Chas had to try to keep in under control. ----- An icicle hangs from the roof of my house. I’m looking at it but still can’t quite believe it. Icicles are very rare here. Usually reserved for the freezer door that was left open overnight. A winter storm blew through and Mobile, Alabama is doing what it usually does when it gets below average cold – we’re freaking out. School is cancelled, quote, “out of an abundance of caution” for the kids. There’s no rebuttal to that phrase. It...

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Kids These Days show art Kids These Days

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Storms blew through Monday night. It was tough weather. I survived. My daughter? It was the aftermath of the storm that nearly broke her... ----- My favorite oldest daughter is upset. “I just can’t deal with this. It’s just too much,” she keeps saying. She’s leaving for a bit. She needs to get out of the house. “I’m going to Starbucks,” she says. “I’ll be back later.” My wife and I say nothing. You see, the power is out. The big storms that cruised through Monday night left us in the dark. It’s now Tuesday afternoon and the power company estimates another thirty hours...

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God On Our Side show art God On Our Side

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On New Years Eve, I watched a conversation in my kitchen that was exactly as I hoped it would be.  ----- A friend called this past fall. He said, “The Holy Spirit told me to call you and tell you the Holy Spirit wants you and me to make a podcast together. Will you help me?” My goodness. What do you say to that but “Sure. I’ll help you.” The podcast is about his spiritual journey. He brings his friends on from time to time to tell their stories. My job is to keep us focused on the topic, keep us at around twenty minutes per episode, and toss out a contrary opinion that will help...

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Solstice show art Solstice

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Yesterday was the winter solstice. Brings back memories... ----- Yesterday was the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Said another way, there is more darkness on December 21st than any other day. It’s also the day I got engaged many years ago. The story I like to tell is that my wife, who was then a collegiate volleyball coach, was watching VHS videos of players she was hoping to recruit. I asked her to stop the video and pay attention to me for a moment or two. She reluctantly did with a “this better be good” expression. I asked her to marry me. She considered the...

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Leena's China show art Leena's China

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

A family tree of photographs is at the top of the stairs at my father's house.  ----- A picture hangs at the top of the stairs at my parent’s house. It’s of my mother’s grandmother, my great grandmother. I think it’s Grandma Leena. My father and I were trying to figure out who it was. My mother had told me about the picture and about Grandma Leena for years. I never listened. There are a bunch of other pictures. At the top, near the ceiling, are pictures of my mother and father’s family and they form a family tree, coming together, picture by picture, generation by generation,...

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More Episodes

My sons won their football game last Friday night in an upset giving parents like me one more game and...it's a home game.

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If you heard last week’s commentary, you might like to know that my sons’ football team won their playoff game in an upset in Montgomery Friday night. My favorite oldest son – a wide receiver – made a nice catch on a screen play and was tackled from behind by a savage mountain of a full-grown man. My son said it was a clean hit and was all good but…I can’t bring myself to like that guy. I’m going to have a hard time liking anyone that smashes my favorite oldest son to the ground. My wife and I both said, at nearly the same time, “Wow. He got walloped” and that’s because what we heard when my sweet little boy got hit by a mountain of a full-grown man sounded like WALLOP. My son bounced to his feet and trotted back to the huddle hoping the ball would come his way again. My wife and I sat frozen in the stands hoping it wouldn’t.

When they upset last week’s opponent, parents like me felt like we were awarded with a bonus week plus a home game. Like last week, this week could be the last game of their season and the last football game of my senior’s career. If tonight is the last game, it’s only fitting that it finishes on the field where the seniors began playing as children years ago. It was a while back but only a flash in my memory. Wearing their helmets, they looked like bobble head dolls.

A friend counsels professional and elite collegiate athletes on their transition from sports into the everyday world. When their careers end, many of them struggle with identity. Without sports, who am I, they ask? What do I do with my time? What’s my purpose? I fear for some of this with some of the kids on the field tonight. They’ve played this game on this team with these people since they were about eight years old. What happens when it’s over? Some will have no problems with the transition, eager and curious about their next chapter of life. Others will struggle to let it go. You see them today as adults, living vicariously through their children who are out there on the field. That identity must be a powerful hold. I was never an athlete so I can’t really relate.

However, I’m not immune. When my favorite oldest daughter played her final volleyball match, I sighed and then went on to the next in line. What happens when my favorite youngest son and favorite youngest daughter are done with sports? When they transition out? So much time has been spent cheering for them on the sidelines that I worry a little about myself. It’s become a part of my identity, too. Who will I become? What will I do with all this newfound time?

I don’t know. I guess acknowledging that an inevitable transition is ahead is valuable in and of itself. Until then, though, I’m all in.

Good luck tonight, boys. I love you both. I’ll be in the stands with many others just like me, screaming my head off, hoping for all of us that tonight won’t be the last night.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep it Real.