Monday, March 29, 2010

Live Big

Whitney played volleyball this weekend in the Junior Olympic Regional Bid tournament. Sounds important, but really is just to rank the teams and then they get invites to the Junior Olympics based on their rankings. We mostly stay close to home and play local tournaments. We are a team that is playing to get better, not to get national attention. I can’t / won’t travel every weekend all over the country for volleyball with a 14 year old. So we love this team. It’s picked by the high school coach who will be her coach next year.
In picking a team this way he takes the girls coming to his school first. Then he fills positions around them. This is not the way a lot of club teams are filled. Height is a big deal in volleyball. Short girls are overlooked because they are short, regardless of their skill or athletic ability. Our team has three girls under 5’3”. Two over 5’6”. Out of 8 girls, the other 3 are in the middle. I was sitting in the stands watching a game Saturday and heard two dads from an opposing team talking. First one says that this game is really mismatched. There were no girls on the other team shorter than my 5’6”. Second one says they sure are a little team. When the score was 21-14 our favor I heard one say I guess no one has told them they are little. The difference is we have position players. They know their job, they do their job. We have excellent passing and setting which allows the hitters to kill the ball. The tall team had great hitters, but never got good passes or sets to utilize their strengths and skills.
This is a concept that always touches me. It’s everywhere, not just sports. We have been given talents and gifts from God. We are to use them. The parable of the master who went away and left each of his servants with talents, and all but one invested and doubled their talents. This is what we are supposed to do. Use what God has given us to the absolute best we can. Don’t bury it, don’t hide it. Even if you can’t see the returns on it, it will happen.
I have seen this principle in Whitney this year in volleyball. A 5’3” defensive specialist. And she is good. But she wanted to play the whole game, so she invested time and worked on her front row game and earned a spot as a right side hitter as well. So she stays in the whole game.
Invest what God has given you. I don’t have any talents that just jump right out and amaze people. I have learned to laugh at the fact that generally there are two or three people in my house that are more talented than I in any area, and that’s before I get to the real world. But sometimes, I see things happen around me and I understand that a talent is not just volleyball or public speaking or singing or acting or writing. It’s not just cooking or sewing or painting and sketching. It’s the act of saying something encouraging. Having the right word to say in time of tragedy. Knowing when to listen instead of talk. Loving someone unlovable. Making people feel valued. Taking care of something quietly, behind the scenes that no one will ever know it was you.
I’ve said before that I have a spotlight personality with backstage skills and talents. I am okay with not being in the spotlight, more now than ever before, but I don’t feel the need to take on every stage hand responsibility either. I have started looking for opportunities to use my talents as much as possible, even though they are not what most people would consider talents and skills. One of mine is that I don’t forget things. Birthdays, anniversaries, things people like or don’t like, names and events. I am trying to use this. I send more birthday cards. I try to call or email before and after events in people’s lives. Mostly, I’ve just been trying to show people that I care as much as I really do. Because I know feeling lonely and forgotten hurts. I also know God hasn't made anyone to live little.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Conversations with Whitney

setting: my car, Mcdonald's drive thru
cast: Whitney and two of her friends

I hear something that makes me tune into the conversation in process...

Friend 1: My mom would be really annoyed with us right now. Doesn't your mom care?
Friend 2: Yeah, is she ignoring us?
Whitney: No she's not ignoring us, she's just not listening.

I wish I had been listening...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Issues, donuts and Walgreens

I have issues. Does that surprise anyone? Yesterday I had an unpleasant conversation. Right before I left work. I had errands to run which these errands had me drive a different course than I normally do. I can go from home to work to school to get Whitney and back home and only be off the highway system here in Wichita for a couple miles. It’s great. But yesterday, the errands I needed to run had me drive cross town on city streets. And this unpleasant conversation was eating at me. I could not believe it when I realized I was in the Krispy Kreme parking lot heading through the drive through. (One of my errands was Dillons, and Krispy Kreme is right there too.) It took every bit of will power I had to pull out of the line before I placed an order for a dozen donuts. I won’t tell you how many of them I can eat, I’m pretty ashamed of my donut eating ability. I attend weight watchers meetings (typically I run the 6 miles to the meeting, I’m as obsessive about this as I am about eating donuts) and one donut is 26.08% of my daily food allowance. Weight watchers is not based on calories but on the nutrition content of the food. The only healthy thing about a donut is the hole.
Food / emotional eating is only one of my issues. I’ll share a few more and let you decide just how whacky I am. I love magazines. I LOVE magazines. The shiny paper. The coupons. The perfume samples. The way every time you turn the page it’s something new. The little boxes of additional information. I could go to doctor/dentist offices just to read magazines. And read them over and over. Then I will share them, because I think everyone should share my weird affinity for magazines.
Next weird issue is I touch my face a lot. I was not aware of this until recently when Whitney pointed it out to me in the extremely honest not too kind I’m telling the truth as only a 13 year old girl can and you are mom and therefore have no feelings kind of way. Then Steve confirmed it. I’m pretty self conscious about it now. And I do touch my face excessively.
I always sleep on my side facing out. I don’t sleep facing the middle of the bed, ever and I can’t sleep with my face towards the back of the couch.
I love to go to Walgreen’s. This in itself is not weird. The weird part is that I never buy anything. I just walk around and look at stuff. And then leave, with as much money as I went in with. This never happens at Walmart or Dillons. If I have an extra 10-20 minutes and I drive by Walgreen’s, I will stop. And look. And not buy.
I’m going to go now, I think I’m going to Walgreen’s and then to get a donut.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Do you ever think about the difference in mothers? I had Whitney and 3 of her friends in the car the other day. I'm going to have to make sure I listen better. Anyway, I dial in when I hear this conversation going on. Wow Whitney, if I said that to my mom she would be devastated. Yeah, my mom would cry. I listened better to figure out they were talking about a friend of mine and her daughter and a conversation they had. That I laughed when I heard. This friend is a lot like me (whatever that means) and her daughter is a lot like Whitney. Conversation went something like this. "But mooooommmmm, I wanna go to the movies." Mom says, "Yeah, well I wanna be stick thin." (She's not big, but she is my age and has had two kids.) Daughter says, "well, at least what I want is attainable." Rude, yes. Body image problems, none. I just laughed and told these girls that God knows what he's doing and puts the right kids in the right families, because a lot of mothers would have killed Whitney by age 9. Joking of course, and Whitney laughed. Family dynamics are sure different for all of us. I sure love my Whitney.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weekend in Review

Busy weekend. Nate got home from Phoenix, drove through terrible weather. Dinner with friends, Steve's birthday party, church, laundry, housework, and Whitney's volleyball tournament, took first place. Aren't they cute?
The writing on the legs is in honor of their teammate, Regan who was in an accident and died Thursday night.
I actually posted about that, but I did it from my phone and it disappeared. Which means I somehow deleted it because my smart phone is smarter than I am. Anyway, Thursday night they took Regan off life support and we have had a very sad group of girls. I know the family is grieving the loss of this sweet little girl, but I write about my feelings and experiences so I understand they are going through much worse than we are. I watched 8 young teenagers deal with this loss in different ways. But at this tournament Saturday without their teammate, they showed remarkable maturity and pulled themselves together and played. They had moments of brilliance and moments where we wondered as parents if we should have let them play. There coach is the young lady standing behind them in jeans. Sweet 26 year old high school teacher. I ask her before the tournament how she was doing and she looked at me with the most horrific expression and said, "I don't know what to say to them". I didn't answer with my first thought "Neither do we, as parents". Anyway, Regan's older sister also plays volleyball and her coach brought beautiful long pink and blue hair ribbons for the girls hair, Regan's favorite colors. They tattood themselves with "we love you, Regan", "#2 you are always in our hearts", etc. *Side note* I'm going to Hobby Lobby looking for press on number 2's for their jerseys so we can put away the sharpies at the tournaments. One of the girls on the team was in Florida with school friends that don't know Regan and when she got the message and sat down and cried, her two friends sat and cried with her. Those are real friends. And at the end of the tournament when they won first place, for the first time, I looked over at Whitney sobbing, shoulders heaving (she's her mother's girl after all) and Alexx holding her while she cried.
The tournament is this week, out of town, and the memorial is Thursday afternoon. The girls above are listed in the program as honorary pallbearers. Regan was a sweet little thing. Outgoing, happy, funny, and always in the middle of what was going on. We will all miss having her around. I would appreciate prayers for Whitney and the family and friends of Regan this week.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Conversations with Whitney

Setting: Blockbuster Movie
note: Whitney is a horror movie fan. Chuckie makes her laugh. This would bother me if she was the oldest child. But the youngest child with sisters and brothers that are 17, 18, 19 and 21 she was educated earlier (and better?) than I would have liked, but couldn't stop.

Whitney: I know what movies I want.
Me: Okay
Whitney: Can you help me find them? I don't know where they would be.
Me: Okay
Whitney: I want movies about the holocaust.

They had studied the holocaust in language arts last week. That explained me being grilled about WWII for the last week. I felt like I was teaching history.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

No Compete Clause

I don't compete anymore. For someone who was highly competitive growing up this was almost shocking when I realized it. I don't run to win. I have accepted that bottom 5% of every race is where I belong. In actuality, I am happy there. The only pressure is what I put on myself to finish. I hesitate after saying I'm not competitive to admit this, but I ran 26 miles last week. Steve ran 26 miles on Saturday. And that bugged me, for a very brief moment. I got over it quick. I don't need ever feel the need to have the best recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I love those pillsbury ones that are already sliced and you just put them on the sheet and bake them. And then eat them. Worse yet, it was my turn to bring dessert to the volleyball tournament two weeks ago and I asked Whitney what she wanted and this is what she asked for.
She loves these. Hardly will share them. My salsa recipe is 5 cans of mild rotel thrown in the blender with chopped cilantro and half a chopped onion. Blend for 1-2 minutes. Don't even tell me I have to try out for something. If I have to audition or compete I don't really want it. I'm 42 years old. I can't take the pressure. I definitely can't handle being told I'm not good enough. I still don't deal well with that. And if at this point in my life I have to audition/try out/compete for something, well I'll just go get a new book and lose myself in it for half an hour and then I won't care anymore. My kids? Well, if that's a competition, I bet mine have done anything yours have done. And that's not a competition I want to win. Sure they do a lot of good things, but they do a lot of stupid things. I'm proud of them, but certainly not in the world of mine are better than yours, smarter than yours or even worse than yours. Don't want to compete that. Just love them. I think maybe, just maybe, I have grown up. I might actually be an adult. And I like myself. Sure, I'm a squirrel, and I know that. I dress weird. (I should've taken a picture of this ensemble, even I knew I looked like a redneck, but I will describe it for you. Beautiful orange sundress, worn with white tights and a white sweater over it to work, because I wear clothes year round. At home that evening doing dishes, I took the sweater and heels off. I had to pick Whitney up from volleyball practice. Had to talk to a mom about prom decorations. I went into the high school wearing the orange sundress covered by Nate's tan thermal lined hoodie with white tights and my black orthopedic clogs.) I wear plaid tights and argyle tights. I still wear my cowboy boots with my skirts. I am a fashion disaster and I love it. My hair will do anything I want it to. Curls, wavy, straight. I can do 12 different updos. And yet, most days it looks like I fix my hair the same I way make salsa, in a blender. Kansas is windy. That's my excuse. I talk too much, and I regularly quote the Bible verses to myself about idle words and a quick tongue. I pray before I go to parties that God will keep me from saying something offensive or stupid. I am still working on losing 20 pounds, probably will for the rest of my life. But again, that's okay because trying to get the last 20 off keeps the next 20 from coming on. I don't know for sure when this change happened. Probably pretty gradual, but at some point I started letting go of what others thought and deciding what I think about myself. I'm pretty good at looking in the mirror and seeing what I really am, warts and all. I want to be the best I can be. Godly woman, Godly wife, and Godly mother. Thing is, God wants me to be what He wants me to be, not what others want me to be. Not like anyone else, but me. So I will strive to be the best for him I can be, even if that is a little odd.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Today is my husband’s birthday. He is 40. We have two graduating from high school this spring and Whitney starts high school in the fall. Life is full. He is healthier and in better shape than he has been any other time in his life except for high school soccer and army basic training. I know how fortunate I am to be married to a man who loves God, loves his family, loves his church and loves me. (He’s really hot, too). He asked me last night if he could invite a friend to his party. We’re just having a family party like we do every year because he doesn’t want anything more than that. He’s just that way. I told him he could invite whoever he wants. He has invited his biggest fan. (I would argue that I am his biggest fan…) Her name is Lillia, she is three years old and she is crazy about my man. I find it quite humorous that he invited a three year old to his 40th birthday party. He invited her parents too, I have never met them. Since Whitney is at a friend’s house tonight, celebrating spring break and Nate is in Phoenix for baseball practice all week Steve and I are on our own tonight. I’m going to run the 6 miles to my weight watchers meeting and then have Steve pick me up and we will get ice cream on the way home to celebrate. Chocolate milk shakes are his absolute favorite.

For those of you who have never met him, you can see him with our band at

He’s the vocalist without a guitar. And stick around for Mark's talk. It's the best part.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Conversations with Whitney

Setting: Freddy's Frozen Custard
Cast: Whitney, Maddie, Nate and Me

Nate: See that tall kid? He goes to school with me. His name is Spencer.
Maddie: There was a kid named Spencer at Stucky. He got expelled for dealing drugs.
Whitney: Yeah, he's the only one so far.
Me: There's more than one?
Whitney: There's a lot of them.
Me: You don't buy drugs and...
Whitney: (interrupts me) you know I don't have any money.
Nate is laughing so hard he is laying in the booth across my lap by this time.
Me: This is why I clean your room. So I can search for contraband.
Whitney: Do you think I'm stupid? I wouldn't hide anything in MY room, go clean YOUR room.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Isn't it ironic

I ran this week. Laced up my running shoes and pounded out 4 miles - twice. After all the aqua jogging and elliptical training I ran my first 4 mile run 2 minutes faster than the last one, 6 weeks ago. I'm a fan of aqua jogging for keeping your endurance.

After I ran, everything hurt - except for my heel. My abs hurt, my legs hurt, but my foot was okay.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

We are the champions

It’s a happy day at my house when I get the mail and my Runner’s World magazine is there. This month there is an article on an ultra marathon runner. (Ultra marathon simply means any race longer than a 26.2 marathon. There is a magazine called Ultra Runner and it also gets delivered to my house, but not for yours truly.) This ultra runner runs 100 mile and 135 mile races. Runs them well. Wins them. I point this out because this magazine is full of information for the everyday average runner like me. It is for people who run all distances, 1 mile to 100 miles. Anyway, what stuck out to me was at the very end of the article where it talked about this man being a true champion. And like a true champion, he is kind and generous and helps everyone along the way, but pushes himself in ways that most people can’t even understand. Perseveres through pain, endures hardship, and while on this path of pain and hardship, helps others as he passes them. I thought this is a great metaphor for life. The true champions in this life are the ones that are enduring pain and hardship and yet along the way they are lifting others up, pulling them along, encouraging them, and helping them get to the finish line as well.

Also in this article I learned a new running term, when a guy gets “chicked” it means he gets passed by a girl. I thought this was really funny. I get “chicked” all the time, but I don’t care.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Conversations with Whitney

setting: My kitchen

Whitney: (very whiny, not sure where she gets that trait) MOM, my hair is all poofy.
Me: I think it's pretty.
Whitney: But it's POOFY.
Me: I like poofy.
Whitney: Yeah, you're from the 80's.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The best things in life...

Tonight I was gonna make ribs for supper. I couldn't find barbeque sauce. (BBQ sauce does not rank as a drop everything and go to Walmart item.) So I improvised. Two packets of leftover McDonalds BBQ sauce and some ingredients from my cupboard and refrigerator and voila! Mesquite honey BBQ ribs. They turned out pretty good. In my opinion, they were better than if I had just had regular BBQ sauce to dump on them. Sometimes the easy way is good, but a little bit of thought and ingenuity makes it better.

There is a saying "the best things in life are free". I'm not sure I would make that blanket statement, because I pay for water and electricity and they are pretty great things to have. Along with diet coke and food, in general, I don't even need to get specifically into my favorites. But there are some things that are free that are pretty great. Air. Running. A hug from my son.

We all value different things in life. I think there are some things it's safe to say that everyone values for the most part, human life, family, healthy, a good job, etc. But then we all have the things that mean something to us that other's don't get. A sentimental object from Grandma or mom. A picture a child drew for us. An activity. A favorite book or blanket or chair. Or overnight bag (that's one of mine, and I know it's kind of weird.)

Where your treasure is that's where your heart is, where your treasure is, that's where you are. Line from an old song.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Love Month

February is not only Valentine's Day, it is also the month my anniversary falls in. Steve and I decided the first Valentine's Day we were together it was a holiday we would not celebrate. Along with Groundhog Day, Arbor Day, and many others. However, we do try to remember our anniversary. And neither of us have forgotten it, ever. This year we both remembered it, but it got here faster than we expected. So anniversary morning I got to work to an email from Steve wishing me happy anniversary. That night we talked about how quickly it had gotten here and we decided it wasn't a holiday we were going to skip because celebrating our marriage is going to happen, it's an important thing to remember and an event worth celebrating. So Saturday night after church we went out to eat.
Let me just say before I go on that I had a rough couple of weeks. Lots of stuff going on. And when I was whining to Steve about all the things that had happened and all the things I want to do that I can't do (see Sunday's post) he looked at me across the table and said "at least you still get to be married to me." How's that for putting things in perspective?