I’m glad he didn’t make the team.

I’m glad he didn’t make the team.

My son tried out for a competitive 9u baseball team this summer. He had just completed the 8u season with the same team, but this time, he didn’t make the team. I went to every game and (almost) every practice, so trust me, I know his strengths and his weaknesses. Knowing his strengths and his weaknesses, as well as knowing there were over twice as many hopefuls as number of spots on the team, I also knew the odds were not in his favor. Needless to say, I was not surprised by the phone call that came on Monday morning from the coach, breaking the bad news – “He didn’t make the team.” Don’t get me wrong, my heart broke a little that day. I loved that team. Those boys, those coaches, those moms (and dads, but mostly the moms), had become dear to me over the course of the season. And when I told my boy the news, my heart broke wide open. He was crushed. He loved that team. Those boys and those coaches had become dear to him over the course of the season. And truth be told, my heart aches for him just a bit (well, maybe more than a bit), every time I hear him share this disappointment with others, but I’m glad he didn’t make the team. Why? Because if I am being honest (which I try to be, even when it’s hard), he wasn’t good enough.

In the aftermath of the disappointing news, I wiped his tears and hugged him hard. I told him that I was sorry he didn’t make it and that I knew how disappointed he was, but I didn’t tell him that he should have made the team or that it was unfair. Because if I am being honest, (which I try to be, even when it’s hard), it was fair. He wasn’t good enough. I know him, as a player, I know him. I play catch with him, I pitch to him, I coach him. I watch all of his games and (almost) all of this practices, and I watched the tryout. I know his strengths and I know his weaknesses.

In this culture of participation trophies and “everyone’s a winner” (all of which I believe in and support in youth sports), I’m glad he didn’t make the team. This won’t be the last time he isn’t chosen for a team, a job, an award. It is just the first time. At age 9, some might argue that it is too soon, or too young to “be cut” from a sports team, but I disagree. My son has fallen in love with baseball and not making the team has proven to be an opportunity. An opportunity to set goals that are attainable, but require hard work, dedication and a realistic assessment of progress. When he first got the news that day, he initially told me that he no longer wanted to play baseball, but like I said, he has fallen in love with baseball. So instead of quitting or giving up, he has continued to practice, working on every aspect of his game – hitting, fielding, throwing. And all that hard work – it’s making him better – a better baseball player. But the growth is beyond baseball – it’s in focus and confidence.

His goal is to make the 10u team next year. He might make it, he might not, but, make it or not, he will know that he worked hard, he didn’t quit, he didn’t give up. He knows that he has become a better baseball player because of that hard work. It’s an experience and a lesson I hope he will carry with him through life. Goals are worth working for and dreams are worth chasing. So, as much as I loved that team – those boys, those coaches, those moms (and dads, but mostly the moms) – I’m glad he didn’t make the team.

When you bring your boys to play…

When you bring your boys to play, don’t apologize.

So many moms of boys apologize for the “what ifs.” And I have done it too… anticipated, apologized… for boys.

But when you bring your boys to play, don’t apologize for the noise. I know they will be loud, louder, LOUDEST!

When you bring your boys to play, don’t apologize for the wild and the crazy. I can dodge nerf bullets and peel sticky ninjas (clearly a toy invented by a man) from the ceiling.

When you bring your boys to play, don’t apologize for their table manners. I know they may talk with their mouths full, put their elbows on the table and even fart at dinner.

And the laughter, never apologize for the laughter – we want plenty of laughter (especially if they fart at dinner) and it will be LOUD.

But even in all this CRAZY, I will enjoy your boys, WILD, with my boy. As a boy with 2 sisters, he needs this brotherhood of boys. He needs the LOUD, the CRAZY and the FARTING. He needs the boys.

So bring your boys to play, mommas. And don’t apologize.

Palm Sunday

I recently began my annual read of Six Hours One Friday, by Max Lucado. For the last few years, it has served as a reminder for me, a reminder of the sacrifice made by Christ, a reminder of those hours spent on the cross, one Friday, on a hill in Calvary. This year, this Palm Sunday, I am reflecting on the week before the crucifixion. Jesus entered Jerusalem as a KING! “Hosanna to the Son of David!” the crowds shouted, laying down their cloaks to provide a Red Carpet welcome to the KING! But, Jesus knew what was coming and He knew it was coming soon. I can’t help but wonder how He felt at that moment, knowing those same voices that were shouting “Hosanna” today, would be shouting, “Crucify,” tomorrow?

Strong Women

May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.

Strength, dear daughters, comes in many forms.  As you grow, I hope you will appreciate your strength.  Never be ashamed of your physical strength – the strength that develops in your legs from the miles that you run or the hours that you dance.  Embrace that strength and try not to take if for granted, but remember that strength is so much more than the physical.  Strength is showing kindness even when it isn’t the popular thing to do.  Strength is speaking up when necessary, but also knowing when speaking your mind is more hurtful than helpful.  Strength is standing up for what you believe is right, but also admitting when you are wrong.  Strength is recognizing that you need help sometimes and not being afraid to ask for it.  Strength is trying.  Strength is failing.  Strength is trying again, even after you fail.  Strength is getting back up after you fall.  Strength is starting.  Strength is finishing.   Strength can be loud, but it can also be quiet.  Strength is believing in yourself, even when others doubt.  Strength is believing in others, even when they don’t believe in themselves.   

I am a runner.

I am a runner, since the age of 12, a runner.  
First, it was for sport and competition,
but soon it became something more, so much more.
And 3 decades later, it is still so much more.
There is a peace that comes from running.
While running, it is just me.
Only my feet pounding, my legs pumping, my lungs breathing,
my heart beating.
I am the machine, the means by which I travel.
I am these legs that carry me for miles.
I am these lungs that heave the heavy breaths.
I am this heart that beats, beats, beats...

He is…

He is the whisper in the wind.


He is the cool breeze before the storm.

He is the rainbow after the rain.

He is pure joy, bringing giddiness and glee.

He is quiet comfort, bringing contentment and peace.

He is both infinitely big and infinitely small.

He is above all things and in all things.

He is awe and wonder to the brink of fear.

He is love and grace to the brink of heaven.

He is simultaneously the most powerful and the gentlest of spirits.

He is the alpha and the omega.

He is the beginning and the end.

He is GOD.

There is a Monster in this House!

There is a Monster in this House!

It’s scary, but it’s true, and when she’ll come, you have no clue.

But when she rears her ugly head, you’ll run and hide beneath your bed.

You’ll be as quiet as a mouse, you’ll whisper, “There’s a Monster in This House!”

But hiding does not keep you safe, she knows your every hiding place!

You see her when you comb your hair, she’s even sitting in your chair!

She glares at you and bares her teeth, all you hope for is relief.

You raise your voice, you stomp your feet, sometimes you just refuse to eat!

You bike, you run, you exercise, but monsters don’t care about your size.

You bang your head against the wall, but that just doesn’t help at all.

She follows you from here to there, that PESKY MONSTER’S EVERYWHERE!

You close your eyes and say a prayer, but when you’re done, she’s standing there!

Where do you go? What do you do? There’s NO ESCAPE! The Monster’s YOU!

Anybody else feel like the Monster in the House?

I will still…

I will kiss you good night and kiss you good bye, while I still can.  I know the day will come when you ask me not to, especially in front of the school or in front of your friends. I will still sneak into your room to kiss your cheek while you sleep.

I will tuck you in tight and say bedtimes prayers, while I still can.  I know the day will come when you will turn off your own light and say your own prayers. I will still pray to be the mother you need me to be.

I will give piggy back rides and carry you off to bed, while I still can.  I know the day will come when you have grown too big or I have grown too weak. I will still want to then.

I will sit through sports practices and play catch in the back yard, while I still can. I know the day will come when you drive yourself to practice and no longer want to play ball with your mom. I will still be your biggest fan.

I will put candles in pancakes, cupcakes and donuts, while I still can. I know the day will come when you will think you are too old for birthday parties and birthday breakfasts. I will still celebrate the gift of being your mom.

I will tell you and show you, I love you, again and again and again, while I still can. I know the day will come when you will make a mistake you are reluctant to tell me about, but don’t worry, son. I will still…no matter what…I will still.

Missed Flights

Written July 31, 2018 –

Just days ago, I stood on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  It is, arguably, one of the most amazing natural wonders on earth.  Of course there are look out points and visitor centers, hoards of people and buses transporting them from point to point, but the canyon itself is naturally majestic.  The depth, the colors, the rugged landscape, the wildlife, all left me breathless.  I am 45 years old and this was my first glimpse of the canyon.  I don’t recall when I first learned of it’s existence, but I do know that I have longed to see it for at least a few decades.  When I finally passed the park gate and reached the visitor center parking lot, the promise of the view filled me with great anticipation.  Well, it would still take me some time to actually reach the rim.  The parking lot and visitor center complex is overwhelmingly large.  There are clear signs directing you to the bathrooms (thank goodness, because I really had to go), the gift shop, (which I also needed to visit to gather a few souveniurs for my kids), but actually finding the rim was not as easy as I expected.  I know it sounds ridiculous that I was right there, at the Visitor’s Center and could not find the Grand Canyon!  Well, fortunately, I finally wound up on the right path and it did not disappoint.  I felt like a kid in a candy store.  I was breathless (and it wasn’t from the walk).  The expanse before me was far greater than I could have imagined.  I felt like falling to my knees and praising God.  I resisted the falling to my knees part (I didn’t want the other canyon gazers to think I had collapsed and call an ambulance), but I did praise God, or at least tried to.  The only words I could softly utter were, “Oh God, Thank you.”  Nothing else would even come to mind.  There were not words that could adequately express what I was seeing, feeling, experiencing.  I just stopped and let the beauty and the joy penetrate my soul.  The fatigue from the 4 1/2 hour drive and the hunger from skipping lunch to get there, evaporated.  I felt great awe and great peace, but also great gratitude.  Gratitude for the presence, the beauty and the opportunity.  You see, I almost missed this.  

For those who know me, this will come as no surprise, but I was late in arriving!  An entire day late to be exact!  I was booked on an early morning flight (mistake #1) on Saturday morning (mistake #2), but when my alarm went off at 4 a.m., I hit snooze (mistake # 3, 4, 5 and 6, yes, I hit snooze 4 times), despite getting out of bed 36 minutes later than planned, I decided that I had time to take a shower (mistake #7).  I didn’t have time.  When I approached the airport, my mind flashed back to another flight I was scheduled to take from this airport, one that I had missed.  My departure time was still about 30 minutes away, but in my sleepy state, I failed to recall the fact that the ticket counter agent turned into gate agent 30 minutes prior to departure.  To my disappointment, the United desk was dark and no one was present.  The kiosk gave me a last glimmer of hope and I frantically tried to check in.  As I heard the ticket agent turned gate agent announce boarding groups just on the other side of security, I saw the message, “You are unable to check in at this time.”  I missed the flight.  There was nothing I could do.  I called United and sat to wait.  My only option was to see if I could get on the next flight.  Finally, the gate agent turned back into ticket agent and I told her my story.  She typed away, searching for seats.  She could get me to Chicago on the next flight, but Las Vegas was my final destination and the  best she could do was put me on stand by.  There was a high probability that I would sit at O’hare airport until the next morning.  I decided to simply fly out the following day and I returned home.  Despite my disappointment, I found myself excited.  It was as if I had been given this gift of time to spend with my family that I did not expect to have.  Here was a full Saturday with absolutely nothing scheduled or planned.  No birthday parties, practices or appointments to run kids to.  I found myself contemplating “Missed Flights.”  I figured I could see this missed flight as a missed opportunity to spend a day at the Grand Canyon or as a new opportunity to spend a summer Saturday with my family.  I decided on the latter and I am so glad that I did.  

We spent the morning watching a movie, kids still in pajamas, and eating Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast.  I fixed my kids spaghetti for lunch (one of their favorite meals) and then we all headed out on the boat.  I said “yes” to tubing with my 6 year old even though I really didn’t want to get into the water at first.  I had so much fun bouncing along in the wake with my blue eyed baby girl bouncing and laughing next to me.  I was transported back in time to my own childhood, tubing behind my dad’s boat with my brothers so many summers ago.  These were great memories and I was now making them with my own children.  I watched as my son reluctantly climbed onto the tube with his dad.  He was a little scared, but he trusted me behind the wheel, knowing that I would not go faster than he wanted me to, would stop when he was ready and would not abandon him in the middle of the lake if he fell off!  As I looked back at him, his smile told me that he had no regrets.  He was happy to be riding that wake.  I then convinced my oldest daughter, the most cautious of all three, to take a ride with me back to our cove.  She was nervous at first, but soon we were laughing together, but fell off short of our dock and had to float/swim the rest of the way.  There was a good deal of joking and joy.  My heart was happy.  After all of that time on the water, I was a bit tired (after all, I had been up since 4:36 a.m.).  I contemplated heading in to the house to rest,  but spotted our kayaks sitting on the shore.  Kayaking has become an activity that my oldest daughter and I have come to enjoy together so I suggested a paddle and she said “yes.”  So out we went, on our next adventure.  There on the water, we talked and enjoyed the peacefulness the lake can provide, especially in a non-motorized vessel.  Looking over at her, I noticed how much she has grown, but I also her youth and her innocence.  I know there will come a time when spending an afternoon on the lake with her mom will not  be high on her list of priorities, but until then, I will make sure that it is high on mine.  It was truly a spectacular summer day, one I will not soon forget and one I hope is forever etched in the memory banks of my children as well.  At the end of this spectacular day, I also felt the urge to fall to my knees and praise God, which is exactly what I did.