Sports

“Hit it!”

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We ended the Northern California part of our journey in the best possible way: water skiing on Lake Tahoe.

Jar Skiing

Davey grew up skiing on the lake, and 21 years ago he taught me to ski there. Now it was time for the kidlets to learn.

Although the boys gave a valiant effort, and loved rocking the wetsuits, it was The Girl who was the most determined to make it happen.

Chica Ski

And I loved watching her determination.

The persistence, the strong will, the absolute refusal to quit.

It isn’t an easy skill to learn, and it isn’t an easy place to learn, either. The water is so cold, and that feeling of floating there in the enormous lake, shivering, as the boat circles around to once again pass you the rope is not exactly a fun feeling.

But I knew by the look in her eyes that she would not quit.

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And then finally the time came. She was ready.

Her sweet little voice yelled out, “Hit it!”

Davey took off, and she popped up. For two whole seconds, she was skiing.

We all cheered and yelled.

I was so proud of her and happy for her. Not because it was the best ski run ever, and not because I have visions of her being a professional water athlete.

But because she saw what it was like to stick it out, even when it isn’t exactly fun anymore, and have it pay off.

She saw that grit and guts are very, very good things to have. It’s a lesson I hope she  never forgets.

Ever.

As we went back to get her, all three of her brothers were smiling and happy for her, and as we reviewed the highlights of the day, watching their sister get up definitely made the cut.

Brothers Watching

I love this more than they will ever know.

All of our time wasn’t spent on the water. We also visited the Bay Area and Sacramento, taking in all of the sights. Sea Lions, Cable Cars, Boats, and Bridges filled our days.

Throughout this Northern California time we ate great food, drank great coffee, and reconnected with more friends and family. We also met up with wonderful people who had been in our youth group years ago, and got in quality time with two girls who think nothing of spending hours talking with the kidlets and their stuffed animals.

Debbies

All in all, it was awesome.

We are three weeks into the journey. 3900 miles, 65 hours in the car.

And now we head east.

See you soon.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Not About Baseball

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About 30 years ago Davey and his dad walked into Candlestick Park for the first time. They had just moved up to the Bay Area, and they were there to take in a San Francisco Giants game.

Will Clark, Robby Thompson, and Matt Williams were all on the field, and Davey was hooked.

About 30 years before that, my father-in-law, Scott, had walked into a stadium with his father to see the New York Giants play.

Willie Mays was on the field, and Scott was hooked.

Two nights ago, Davey and I walked into AT&T Park with all four of our children. We were there to see the three-time World Champion San Francisco Giants play.

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Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, and Brandon Crawford were on the field, and although the kidlets were already hooked, they now love it even more.

As we sat there and ate garlic fries, yelled along with the bleacher chants, and danced to Steve Perry, I couldn’t help but think about the history of this team and our family.

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Davey and I went to games together before we had kids. We went when I was pregnant, and when J was an infant in a backpack. When the older boys were 5 and 8, they collected cans and did odd jobs to earn money to go to a game and buy souvenirs.

Not too long after that we moved away from the West Coast. Although we caught the Giants on the road a few times, we had not been back to AT&T Park.

Until now.

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The kidlets had once again done special chores to earn money for souvenirs, and we made sure to enjoy every moment of the night.

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The Giants didn’t win. But that’s okay. Because that night wasn’t about baseball.

It was about family. And connections. And history and tradition.

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It was about dancing and yelling and cheering.

And it was about being together, sharing something we love.

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Go Giants!

See you soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson from the Littles

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In this first week of our journey, I sure have learned a lot from the two youngest kids. We call them The Littles. Now, I know that 4th and 5th graders aren’t normally considered little, but in this family, they are. The older two are The Boys and the younger two are The Littles. That’s just how it is.

We spent three wonderful days camping in Flagstaff, AZ. Those days were full of dirt, relaxing, campfires, and outdoor living. You know, all of the things that make life just a little bit better.

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One of the days that we were there we went and explored the Grand Canyon. It was beautiful and incredible and breathtaking and all of the adjectives you would expect when you go and see one of the Natural Wonders of the World. We stood and looked and pondered the wonder of it all and our insignificance and our significance and all of the Thoughts You Think at the Grand Canyon.

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Well, all of us except Jar. Jar was more interested in the people. As we walked through the parking lot, he read all of the license plates. He wondered about the families, where they came from, and where they were going. He listened to the accents he heard, watched the different customs taking place, and wanted to know more about the lives of the people he saw. He was fascinated by everyone around us, noticing the little things that we all ignored.

As we pushed past the people to stare and watch and think, he saw the people and wanted to know their story.

I want to be more like my son.

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When the camping was over, we came back down to the Greater Phoenix Area. The Girl had some softball to play and we had some cheering to do.

This is The Girl’s first year playing fast pitch softball. She played baseball for five years before this and knows the fundamentals, but this was her first time with the bows and the cheers and all the softballness. She loved it. She is still a bit confused about the bow, but she loves softball.

Her team went undefeated for the regular season, and the pitcher was incredible. I’m talking several no-hitters, way beyond the rest of the league incredible. Strike after strike after strike. It sure was impressive.

The Girl plays 3rd base and shortstop, and I never got tired of watching her out there. Every single pitch of every single inning, she was ready. She would hop into position, glove down, eager to make a play. Now, 19 times out of 20 there was no play to be made, but she didn’t care. She was ready.

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She received no attention, no glory, and most of the time there was no external reward for her actions. But that didn’t stop her. Every pitch, every inning, every game. Doing her job to the best of her abilities, no matter what.

I want to be more like my daughter.

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So now we are off again, ready to see what we see and learn what we learn. Oh, and also enjoy the company of our kids, who are pretty awesome people.

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See you much later, Arizona.

Nevada, Oregon, and Washington… we’re coming for ya.

See you soon.

 

 

 

 

It’s Not Okay

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Youth SportsI am a baseball mom. Well, to be a bit more precise, I am a baseball, softball, soccer, cheer, football, and basketball mom. But out of all of those, baseball is our family sport. From the beginning of February through the end of October, seven days a week, we are doing something related to baseball. Major Leagues, Minor Leagues, College Ball, Little League… we love it all.

But with all of my time watching my kids play, I have realized that there is a problem with youth sports. A very, very big problem. Now, the first thing that someone says when you dare to criticize youth sports is some variation of, “Well if you think you can do better then you can get out there and coach.”

Okay. Challenge accepted. I am a coach. My husband is a coach. Over the course of the last ten years we have coached a total of 51 seasons, from Kindergarteners to high schoolers, in six different sports.

So I have earned the right to say something.

But you know what? I don’t need to have earned the right to say something. And my speaking out isn’t a right – it’s a necessity. Because the problem with youth sports is that young people are being mistreated. And it’s not okay.

I’m not talking about the constant practicing. Although at times it gets a bit excessive, I understand the need to practice. I firmly believe in encouraging kids to strive for excellence, and excellence does not come without a lot of hard work.

I’m also not talking about kids being over-committed. If your kid wants to be involved in ten different activities at a time, and you want to pay for and take them to all of those activities, then go for it. Work that out with your family.

What I am talking about is that in the arena of youth sports it seems to have become accepted that adults will yell and scream at children. Belittling them. Humiliating them. Often times swearing at them.

The very same actions that if we saw it happening on the street, we would stop and intervene. Yet when it happens on the field, or the diamond, or the court, we all sit by and let it continue.

This is not okay.

My oldest son is an umpire and this season he has received a lot of verbal abuse. I understand that in professional baseball the manager yelling at the ump and getting tossed from the game is just something that happens. And you know what? Fine. Two adults throwing a fit and yelling at each other while millions of people watch? It’s a baseball thing. But when it is in the context of youth sports, where the umpire is a high school or middle school student, the dynamic has to change. We cannot simply accept it as normal that a 40-year-old man is going to shout insults at a child.

It is not okay.

All three of my sons play baseball and my daughter plays softball. I have seen countless coaches yelling at their players. Not helpful instruction, not even constructive criticism, simply out of control yelling and screaming. I have seen coaches throw things, slam things, and stomp around, raging at their kids.

I even overhead one coach yelling at his players in the dugout, “This is not a game in here!”

Uh… Coach? It is a game. And those boys you just yelled at? They’re 9 and 10 years old. Almost everything is a game for them. And that’s how it should be.

I realize that I have the option of not having my kids involved in youth sports. My son doesn’t have to umpire, and we can find other ways for them to get exercise and be a part of a team. But I have also seen the benefits that come from playing. Not only the physical benefits, but other benefits as well. I love the responsibility that they learn. I like seeing them helping teach the younger players, cheering for their siblings, and the confidence that comes with mastering a new skill. I like the fact that my oldest son is learning how to stand his ground, and realizing that he can take charge of an incredibly intense situation. These are valuable things to know.

Every day we have conversations about the things that they have seen at the ballpark, the good and the bad. And they are learning from everything. But far too often what they are learning from the adults is what not to do and how not to treat people.

And that’s not okay.

So what do we do? Do we just accept that it’s part of the culture? Do we just roll our eyes, vent on Facebook, and occasionally throw passive-aggressive remarks towards the coach?

Yes. I have done that.

But that’s not okay either.

And so I am speaking out. And speaking up. And I will continue to speak out and speak up. Because even if I remove my four children from this environment, that leaves 996 other kids in this league who are being subjected to verbal abuse.

And it’s not okay.

So what can we do? What can you do?

Speak up.

Speak with your coach and make it clear that you will not allow your child, or any other child, to be mistreated. Request a meeting with the director of your league and let him or her know that you are concerned about the fact that kids are being humiliated.

Because it is possible to coach kids without belittling them. It is possible to help them learn and excel, without making them miserable in the process.

I’ve seen it.

Last season my son’s team was undefeated the entire season, including the championship game. And his coach never once yelled and screamed at the players. He was passionate and he was intense, but he never bullied the children.

There are several organizations that have been created to help coaches learn how to coach without the abuse. Contact these groups and have someone work with your league.

Don’t just sit by and watch it happen. Do something.

I don’t want to be misunderstood here. I am not someone who thinks that everyone should get a trophy and that there should never be losers. I am fiercely competitive, and I believe that games are played to be won. I also believe that part of coaching is teaching kids how to win and lose with dignity.

I don’t tell my kids, “Good swing,” when they are chopping wood, and I don’t just shrug it off when a softly hit grounder rolls through their legs. We work on it, and I expect them to do better the next time.

So I’m not saying we need to be soft.

What I am saying is that we need to make sure that the adults who are leading and shaping and influencing children are doing so in a way that is not abusive. It is not too much to ask.

In fact, why would we accept anything else?

So do something.

See you soon.

 

 

 

 

Free to Disagree

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I wasn’t going to weigh in on this… and I still might not.

Okay, I will…

Do you honor countries around the world with which you have a profound disagreement?

No, you don’t. And you don’t have to. You have the freedom not to.

And one of the most awesome things about living in the United States is that we have that freedom. We have the freedom to disagree with other countries.

And we also have the freedom to disagree with our own country.

We have the freedom to speak out. We have the freedom to express anger, frustration, and disappointment.

We have the freedom to protest.

Being poor does not take away that freedom. Making millions of dollars does not take away that freedom.

Being an NFL player does not take away that freedom.

Colin Kaepernick is angry. He is frustrated. He is disappointed. And he is using his platform to express his heart.

He’s engaging in protest. Peaceful protest.

He’s standing – or sitting – for what he believes is right.

And that’s okay.

You don’t have to agree with him. I don’t have to agree with him.

Because that’s the beauty of this country. We are allowed to disagree with each other.

We are free to disagree.

But with freedom comes responsibility.

And with the freedom to disagree comes the responsibility to respect the dignity of human life.

Not because you agree with someone. Not because they are right.

But because they are a living, breathing person.

And when respect for a song, or a flag, or any other inanimate object becomes more important than respecting the dignity of another human, we have a problem.

A big one.

Name calling? Not necessary.

Threats? Not necessary.

Violence? Not necessary.

So go ahead and disagree. Disagree all you want.

But remember that you are disagreeing with people. Living, breathing people. People with hearts, and minds and passions.

People with stories you haven’t heard, struggles you are unaware of.

People.

Not objects. People.

See you soon.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back In Our Element

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For the last few months, David and I have both been completely out of our element: We have been coaching sports. Okay, so coaching’s not out of our element… we’ve been coaching for years and we love it. But the strange part of our life right now is what we’ve been coaching.

David’s been coaching track, and I’ve been coaching football and soccer.

Now, David’s an athletic guy, but he never ran track. Ever. He knew nothing about track when the season started. In fact, there were times when he’d leave for practice and I’d go on to the computer and find YouTube videos open about starting blocks, sprinting form, and other track-y stuff.

But the school needed a track coach, so he’s doing it.

While he’s been at the school every day imparting his YouTube wisdom to the youth of the community, I’ve been down at the rec league soccer and football fields, imparting wisdom to the children of the community. Now, I haven’t utilized YouTube, but my PE for Elementary Students textbook from college has come in handy. Very, very handy.

Soccer with the little ones hasn’t been too difficult. I know enough of the basics to handle the 5, 6, and 7 year olds. Yesterday we had a helicopter fly overhead during practice, so that brought us a whole new series of challenges, but we made it.

But moving up just one level, to the 8 and 9 year olds? Oh. Boy.

Yesterday before practice my assistant coach told me his ideas for working with the goalies, complete with several specific and technical descriptions… I just smiled and said, “Great!” and sent him off with my two best goalies.

(Yes, he should be the head coach. I know that, he knows that, and anyone who is around my team for more than 3 seconds knows that. But he runs a restaurant in town and couldn’t commit to being a head coach. So there’s that.)

Anyway, while he went with the goalies and did the soccery stuff, I worked with the rest of the kids. We dribbled, we passed, we ran. Then I told one of my defenders (see, I’m not totally clueless) that she should pass the ball up to her teammate who will then try and score.

The little girl nodded in earnest and said, “Okay, Coach! I will! I’ll make sure he’s not offsides though.”

I just looked at her and nodded, “Okay, (little 8 year old girl), good call.”

Later, in the privacy of my own home, I said to David, “Um, so what does it mean to be offsides in soccer?”

Yeah. I’m that coach.

And football? Thankfully I have a very wise and capable assistant there, too. He and his freshman in high school self has answered many a question, made many helpful suggestions, and graciously hid his laughter.

I mean, I know football. I know the rules, I know the plays and positions, and I do know what offsides means in football… but knowing the sport and knowing how to coach the sport are two totally different things.

Plus – flag football and tackle football are two totally different things.

But the rec league desperately needed coaches, so I’m doing it.

But last night something pretty great happened – David started coaching baseball, and I started coaching cheer.

I left soccer practice and walked up to the high school gym, heading for cheer. David passed me on the way, leaving track and heading for the baseball fields. We high fived as we passed, and we each knew that the other was going, well, home.

I walked into the gym and within 30 seconds I knew where I was. Stunt pods, cinnamon rolls, 5-6-7-8, bows, and toe touches – that’s my language. That I know. I was comfortable, I was happy, I was home.

After practice I walked back to the fields for the end of baseball, and yes, that is home for David and the kidlets, and home for me too. (So I have two homes… work with me here.) Watching the pitching coach, listening to the base running coach, seeing the kids working on their swings, calling for pop flies, and charging the ball and tossing it to first – again, the language of home.

When we got back to the house after our marathon day, David and I couldn’t stop smiling. He with a baseball in his hand, me with the cheer catalogues, finally where we wanted to be.

But you know what? Today there is no baseball, and today there is only a little bit of cheer. But today there is track, and today there is football, and we need to give all that we can give while we are there. The kids deserve our best. And while the sports are different, the underlying lessons we want to instill – sportsmanship, commitment, striving for excellence – are all the same. And that is the reason we got into coaching in the first place.

While we were talking about all of this, I was reminded of the verse that talks about the fact that this world is not our true home.

“For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.” Hebrews 13:14

So while we are here, we are out of our element. Sure, we will have glimpses of Home – when we worship, spend time with the Lord, and spend time in fellowship with other believers – but we are not Home yet.

We have work to do here still. We have to go into the world and teach others about the saving grace of Jesus. We have to shine the light into the darkness.

We have to be uncomfortable at times, awkward at times, and yes, even be laughed at at times – but that’s okay. That’s why we are here.

There’s a need, and so we must do it.

And eventually we’ll be Home. We’ll be comfortable. We’ll be at rest.

But until then, let’s give our best. Let’s go where we’re needed, shine the light, and bring others the Hope of one day finally going Home.

See you soon!

No One Told Me…

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When I had my first child, everyone told me to enjoy it because it goes too fast.  So I did. And it did.

Everyone told me to write down the cute stuff he said, to take as many pictures as I could, and to cherish the handprints on the windows because before I knew what was happening they would be gone.

And so I did.

And then I had three more, and I cherished that time with all three of the other kidlets too. In fact, with my youngest, I knew just how fast the baby months flew by, so one day I did absolutely nothing but hold him. All day long. From 6 AM to after 11 PM he was in my arms.

That was a good day.

But just this week something happened that no one warned me about.

My oldest, Jeremy, just turned 12. And I know you may be thinking, “Ah, yes. The middle school years.”

But that’s not it. I’m totally familiar with the middle school years. And I love them. It’s a bit odd to have them under my roof 24/7, but I love them just the same.

And I had more than my share of warnings about the middle school years.

But what I wasn’t prepared for happened last  Monday. I am coaching soccer for my youngest two, and I needed an assistant. I asked Jeremy if he’d be willing to help, and he said sure.

So on Monday I was out at the field, and I sent half of my little players over to work on kicking goals with Coach Jeremy.

I looked over there, and I was completely caught off guard.

Here this kid – my son – my heart – was leading a group of little kids and doing a great job. He was encouraging them, instructing them, and keeping them fully engaged.

Jeremy has grown up with pre-teens and teens who have poured their lives into him… and now he is doing the same for others.

The feeling when this all hit me – that’s what no one warned me about.

Never once in these past twelve years did anyone ever say, “Oh, and one day you’ll look at your child and see it all clicking. You’ll see him giving back to others, taking on responsibility, and doing an amazing job. And you’ll feel so proud of him, so encouraged, and so thankful for everyone who has helped shape him into who he is.” 

And so our family is entering into a new stage. My youngest is about to be a 1st grader, and my oldest is a regular at our youth group, rocking the Algebra, and asking the tough questions. 

And it’s different. And the time went too fast.

But this stage? It’s pretty awesome. And I plan on cherishing it.

See you soon. 

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

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Today is Opening Day! And I am stoked. Most of my friends know that I have been counting down since, well, last October.

I love baseball. (Duh.) But that hasn’t always been the case. When I was a kid we would go to baseball games as a family, but that for me was pretty much just a fun reason to get new clothes, eat hot dogs, and yell, “CHARGE!” as loud as I could.

When I was a teenager some of my closest friends were baseball players, so I would go and watch them play. One time their teams played each other, and a large group of us went to watch. We sat behind home plate and created a pretty big spectacle. I know that we all loved being there. I never asked the guys how they felt about it.

But I am going to be honest here… when I was a teenage girl I was not going to those ball games because I loved baseball.

And then I met David.

David is a baseball fan. Yeah, if you could see me right now you would know that I can’t even say he’s a fan with a straight face. He says he’s an appreciative student of the game. I say he’s obsessed.

Ever seen the movie Fever Pitch? Well David sees absolutely nothing strange about Jimmy Fallon’s behavior in that movie.

But about a year into our relationship, I realized that I had two choices: I could resent baseball and let it become a huge obstacle for us, or I could embrace baseball. Since I had no previous baseball loyalties, I embraced baseball – and the San Francisco Giants – as fully as I could. I watched the games, learned the history, and received a number of lessons on strategy, pitching form, and why it really isn’t that annoying when the pitcher keeps throwing back to first base. Oh, and why intentional walks aren’t “the lamest thing ever”.

When we had been married for about five years I fixated on one particular player. He could hit pretty decently, but his defense was amazing. He was the first baseman, and he had a reaction time that was unbelievable. He would dive for the ball, get back to the base, all while chewing gum and blowing huge bubbles.

After several games that season I finally announced the decision David had been waiting for: My Favorite Giants Player.  I told him that after careful observation and consideration, I had selected none other than JT Snow to hold the coveted title (okay, not really coveted, but work with me here).

David looked at me and said, “Oh, come on. You only like him because he’s dreamy.”

“He’s dreamy?”

“Yeah, you know he is.”

Now – for 100% true – I had never realized that JT Snow was dreamy. I had chosen him purely for his athletic ability. Once David had me take a good look at Snow’s face, I realized that he was in fact pretty dreamy, but since it was all about the athleticism, it was all good. In fact, David allowed our oldest son to be given the initials JT and didn’t even raise a question.

As our family grew, the kidlets became baseball fans as well. The final pitch of the first World Series the Giants won during our lifetime was watched with our entire family (including the Debbies) standing inches in front of the TV. We celebrated in the streets – and since we lived in Northern California we were not alone.

The second World Series the Giants won during our lifetime was much the same way, except without the Debbies. And we lived in Tennessee. Our street celebration was viewed as very, very strange behavior.

So today it starts. 6 (okay, 7) months. 162 games – and then the playoffs.

But, believe it or not, I love baseball for reasons other than my disturbing competitive streak.

First, every day is a new game. Babe Ruth once said, “Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.” In baseball, as in life, players can’t let their past successes – or failures – define them. Every day – every at bat – they have to put the past behind them and give 100%. I like that. A lot.

Second, baseball truly is a team sport. A couple of seasons ago Giants pitcher Matt Cain pitched a perfect game – one of the rarest achievements in baseball. Over 300,000 baseball games have been played and there are only 23 perfect games on record. But during that game, Cain wasn’t alone. His catcher, the Great Buster Posey, called the pitches, and Cain threw exactly what Posey told him to throw. Two of his other teammates made incredible defensive plays to keep the perfection going and the team also scored 10 runs to ensure the win. Baseball is a spectacular picture of individuals doing their very best to help the team succeed.

Finally, baseball has history. Having started in the early 1800’s, baseball has been part of the United States culture, and by studying baseball you can better understand the country. Look at Babe Ruth and his lifestyle, and you get a picture of the Roaring 20’s. Jackie Robinson is symbolic of the Civil Rights Movement, and even the Steroid Era players (yes, Barry Bonds included) give a picture of the cultural mentality at the time – do whatever it takes to get ahead, no matter how harmful it may be to yourself or others. I love the fact that my son can sit and talk baseball with people 70 years older than him. Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, and Joe Jackson are discussed alongside Tim Lincecum, Freddie Freeman, and Clayton Kershaw. It’s a beautiful thing.

And so here we go. We will watch the games – on television and in person. We will hold our breath, cheer, and at times mutter (fine, yell) at the screen. We will be excited, disappointed, frustrated, and surprised.  And we will eat more sunflower seeds than we ever should. And the next day we will do it all over again.

Play Ball!

A Not So Gentle Nudge

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I love the beach. That may be surprising considering the fact that I live in the mountains, 7500 feet above sea level, and about 1100 miles away from the nearest ocean, but it’s the truth. The first sailboat trip I remember was when I was three years old, and my happiest memories from my childhood and early adulthood took place either on the water or right next to it.

The summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school I spent countless hours in a boat and on the sand. That (and a bottle of Sun-In) turned my brownish hair bright white, and I haven’t gone back since. (Well, except the accidental bright pink turned dark red episode that I don’t want to talk about. Really. That was not a good look for me.)

Anyway, when I was in college I took surfing for my PE class. I needed the credit, the class was for two hours every Friday afternoon, and I figured that there was no better way to end my school week. I bought the textbook (seriously), and I am pretty sure that was the only class during my entire college career for which I completed all of the assigned reading and never skipped a session.

Obviously most of the time was spent in the water, but we did have some lectures. The one I remember most distinctly was the lesson on rip-currents. We read about the currents, and then our teacher spent an entire class period describing how and why they occurred, illustrating them on the board, and then telling us exactly what we needed to do to avoid getting caught in them.

“You aren’t strong enough to swim against a rip current,” she said. “I’m not strong enough to swim against a rip current. If you get caught in one, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current, and then let the waves help carry you back into land.”

I memorized her words. Every time I went to the beach (which was pretty much daily) I repeated her words in my head. I read and re-read the chapter about rip currents, and I knew that I knew what to do.

The next week we met down at the beach, and for a warm-up she had us swim out into the ocean, past the breakers, and then come back. On my way back I was struggling. I kept trying to swim, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was getting tired, and frustrated, and I felt like I needed help. But I wasn’t going to ask for it. I was surrounded by surfers, and I didn’t want them to laugh at me. I didn’t want my classmates to know I was struggling, and I was sure everyone would think I was a fool.  

In the back of my mind I thought maybe I was caught in a rip current, and then I panicked. I started swimming as hard as could, but I knew that I had hardly any strength left. The next thing I knew my professor was in the water next to me. She took me and pushed me as hard as she could, parallel to the shore. She yelled at me to keep swimming parallel, and she swam alongside of me. After a short ways she turned me toward the sand and gave me another push. The waves helped carry me in, and when I got out of the water she looked at me and simply said, “Now you know.”

She was looking out for me.

I thought I knew what I was doing, and I thought that was prepared, but she still had my back. And when I got caught and stuck and forgot everything that I had learned, she came along and gave me a not so gentle nudge in the right direction, and she saved my life.

We are created to be in community. It was not good for Adam to be alone, and so God created Eve. It is not good for us to be alone, and my experience that day on Ocean Beach demonstrates why.

There are times that we get in over our head. We think we know what we are doing, we think we have it covered, but circumstances overwhelm us, and we get into trouble. Being in community means that when this happens, someone can come in and give you the nudge, be it gentle or not so gentle, that you need to get where you need to be.

I have to admit that I am not so good at this whole thing. Just like that day in the water, I still am unwilling to ask for help, even when I know I need it. I am more than willing to be the person to come along and nudge others, but I really don’t like being the one nudged. Thankfully I have a couple of people in my life who will nudge me even when I don’t want them to, people who are as strong-willed and stubborn as I am!

But I know I need to work on that. I know that I need to check my pride and ask for help when I need it. I know that I need to get over my social interaction issues. And I’m working on it.

Are you?

See you soon.    

 

 

 

 

 

Just Sayin’

Posted on Updated on

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.” Hebrews 4:16. Today’s guest posters are fully aware of the awesome implications of this most excellent verse, without the cynicism or over-thinking that too many of us adults tend to fall into. Today, Jeremy (11) and Micah (8) Rodda have written a letter to Jesus. And they want to share it with you.

Here is what they have to say:

Dear Jesus,

Hi God. Thank you for creating our family. We have an awesome mom and dad and an awesome brother and sister. Our sister told us to thank you for protecting us from thunderstorms. She is six. Our brother told us to tell you that you are my strong tower. He is four.

Thank you for making the whole earth and for making the flood when you saw bad things happening. We read that in our Bibles. And thank you for rainbows so you won’t do it again.

Our brother just told us to tell you thanks for saving us when we have bad dreams. Our sister just reminded us to thank you for our stuffed animals.

Thank you for letting us play sports like baseball and football and soccer. Thank you for us doing really good in baseball and for Micah getting on base every single game. Thanks for letting Jeremy get tackled in the mud when he played football. And thanks that we both got to play goalie in soccer.

Thanks for loving us even when we are naughty.

Thanks for making Tim Tebow. He is a really cool guy. He had a rule in his house that no one could talk about himself unless someone asked about them. We like that rule. We are trying to do it too.

Please help us have safe travel this summer and have fun camping. And please help everybody in the world believe in you. And please protect the world.

We love you. Amen.

Love,

Jeremy and Micah

See you tomorrow!