Wednesday, May 25, 2016

dear girls: {an open letter to my team}

{via buren foster photography}

i don't know how to start this year. i'm paralyzed by all the words floating in my head that just don't sound right.

how do you speak about the immense amount of pride you have for a team who worked their tails off all season only to come off on the wrong end of a 1-0 game in the state semi-final?

it's still fresh, and it still hurts.

it doesn't get easier to watch you girls hurt. it hurts, and it sucks for me, but it hurts more to see you hurt and know how much of yourselves you poured into this team and this season.

i know that right now the well-meaning consolations of "you still had a great season" don't do a whole lot to make you feel better. i know that right now some of you are not just heartbroken because it's the end of a season, but the end of a chapter of life. i know what it feels like to want it that much, and to come up short. and i'm sorry.
i'm just sorry.

it sounds terrible, but i'm glad it hurts right now. because that means it mattered. that means you invested all of yourselves in it. and that is how you should live your lives.

all in.
be all in.

live your lives like you play the game. pour yourself into it. don't get to the end and wonder if you could have given more.

we as coaches are so very proud of you. we are so very proud of how you came together as a team and put in the work day in and day out.

continue to put in the work. continue to work hard and persist because nothing that's worth having in life is easy. the hard is what makes it great. the hard is what makes it an achievement.

we're proud of the way you played. we're proud of the run we had.

of course we wanted one more game, but the lack of that game doesn't negate the rest of what you achieved.

seniors: we are so thankful for each one of you. they say you're only as tall as the shoulders you stand on, and every girl that comes through this program will forever be standing on your shoulders.
take that with you - leave each place better than you found it, and know that this place is better because you were here.

there's more i could say, but i'll leave it there for now.
thank you all for a tremendous season.

much love to you.
coach kate

Sunday, May 22, 2016

shake hands first

yesterday our team won our 4th round {quarter-final} game of the state playoffs. it's the farthest any team from our school has ever made it in the state tournament, and we're so stinkin' proud of our girls.

it's funny how things stay with you though, and the memories that get drummed up in certain situations.
as a 12 year old my club team won the state cup tournament. naturally we were giddy with excitement as the final whistle blew, and wanted nothing more than to start celebrating immediately. but our coach firmly told us to shake hands first.

shake hands, then celebrate.
play with class, finish with class.

yesterday, as our giddy-excited team started screaming and hugging after the final whistle, i found myself the one firmly telling them to shake hands first, then celebrate.


because the other team isn't giddy-excited. they're on the other side of the coin. they're the ones who came that close, and lost the game. and they don't want to stand there at the middle of the field and watch you celebrate.

they want to get the heck out of there.

respect your opponent. respect the game. respect their effort.
shake their hands. let them go.

a win like that is sweet. it is something to be celebrated. but when you win like that take a second to remember what it felt like to come to the end of your season last time. remember what it felt like to have to wait silently, lined up in the middle of the field. wait for the dog pile to clear and them to line up.

it's not a matter of not celebrating.
it's a matter of the golden rule.

treat others how you would like to be treated.
play with class. finish with class.

shake hands first.
celebrate the heck out of it after.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

you are a great mom.

i know i've written a lot about motherhood lately. this is mostly because i've been having a lot of rough mom-days, and i feel like i'm mucking it all up.

yesterday keane reminded me that i need to take deep breaths when i get frustrated.
yes, really.
he's very astute.

i've yelled too much.
i've gone from too empathetic to not empathetic enough.

i love them with every single ounce of my being. but
some days.

on mother's day my husband left me a note on our "i love you because _________ " board in our room. he filled the blank with "you are a great mom."

you are a great mom.
i don't feel like a great mom.

he tells me that i'm a great mom partially because i don't feel like it. because that means i'm trying.
crying when i mess up means i care.
getting up every day and trying again shows them how much i love them.
saying i'm sorry 800 times a day because i need forgiveness all the time shows them that i'm not giving up.

this is what he tells me.

and i am trying to believe it.

i recently had another mom come up to me, and tell me that this little blog makes her feel like she's not crazy.

that's one of the best compliments i could ever possibly get. because we all need to know we're not alone. we all need to know that someone else understands the depth of the crazy we experience on a daily basis.

this life is exhausting, but so very #firstworldproblems -esque all at the same time. and i need to remember that.

i need to remember that when i walk into a store with a double stroller that barely fits through the door, and i see the look of "ugh, you have to be kidding me" barely masked behind a stale smile on the face of the employees.

i need to remember that when walking 10 feet requires stopping 4 or 5 times to pick up socks, shoes, and a zebra blanket that have been tossed one by one from the stroller.

i need to remember that when i reach my breaking point, and i just need a break.

i need to remember that in the midst of the nightly temper tantrums over trying to get them to eat a good dinner, when all she wants is chips and crackers.

i need to remember that i live an exceedingly pampered life even when those little faces are filled with tears instead of smiles as they look up at me.

it is hard. it is. i {of all people} will not say that the good things make it not so hard. the good things make the hard worth it, but they don't suddenly make it not hard anymore.

i need to remember that it really is worth it in the midst of the hard.
and simultaneously figure out a way to get my son to actually sleep during naptime and not destroy his room.

one can hope...

anyway, for all of you mamas out there. if you are trying, then you are a great mom. if your kids know you love them, then you are a great mom.

i'll say a prayer for an extra dose of grace and wisdom for all of us. because we're all on this crazy rollercoaster ride together.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

mud puddles & cheap wine

keane has always loved to splash in the rain. he has always loved water, and adele has followed in his footsteps. last week that following took a literal turn when we went out to run around in the remnants of the storm that passed through here.

i love watching their wonder.

even in tiny puddles they splashed and kicked their feet. first keane, then adele. adele loves splashing in the tub, and got excited when i allowed her to splash as big as she wanted in the mud puddles. we ran, we splashed. we saw a duck in the pool, and went searching for more. we didn't find any, but we did see a blue heron in the creek.

we watched out for mean snakes {copperheads}. we trekked across bridges and up hills until it was time to come see daddy at home.

watching them enjoy the world is a great reminder to just enjoy the world. yes there's a whole load of crap that gets thrown at us. yes, the world is broken and hurting. but we can't miss the goodness that has been here since the beginning of time.

or maybe i should say we shouldn't miss it. we can miss it. i have whole days and weeks where i miss it. i go through life focused on the things i need to do without really paying attention to anything outside that scope.

after running around in mud puddles with the kids i took advantage of a different part of this wonderful world - i capped off the night with a glass of cheap wine.

sometimes you just need a glass of wine. sometimes it's because you've just had a freakin' day, and you need a glass of wine. but other times it's the encouragement to savor life just how it is.

sometimes you need to sip slowly and reflect on the good things.

some days that list feels smaller than others. some days the top of the "good things" list may be as simple as the glass of wine in your hand.

and that's okay.

because sometimes that's all you can think of even though it may not be all you have. but some days. some days there are mud puddles and cheap wine.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

to my kids on mother's day

to my beautiful little babies.
to the little people who fill my days with joy, laughter, meltdowns, funny faces, silly songs, crying fits, sleep fights, sticky fingers, peanut butter covered kisses, and more kids' shows than i know what to do with --

i am so grateful to be your mama.

i am not grateful in the midst of every moment of every day. because it's hard too. and i know it can be tough for you.

growing up is no easy feat.

i will always do my best to be the best for you. but i will fail. i do fail. you know that better than anyone. most days i feel like i mess it up more than i get it right.

but the right moments... those i hide away in my heart. i store them up for later. the times we splash in the mud puddles and spin in the rain. the times we go fast-fast-fast and you laugh with pleasure at the wind in your faces. the times you each surprise me with your understanding of a new word, or concept, or your mastery of a new skill.

i love watching you learn, and grow, and change. but i want you to slow down and let me savor it. let me remember each stage. let me remember how it felt to snuggle with you as newborns. let me remember the late nights and early mornings. let me remember what you thought of each new food you tried. let me remember how you started crawling, and walking, and running. let me remember the way your little voices sound at each new day. the calls for mama. the calls for da-dee.

let me remember your first day of preschool. let me remember the tears i cried as you jumped right in.

may i always remember the look on your face the first time you got into a swimming pool. may i tuck away into my mind the looks of joy on each of your faces when you see each other in the morning.

may you each know how very much you are loved. from the top of your head down to your tiniest toe.

you see, my loves, there were years when i didn't know if you would ever come. you know that by now, i'm sure. you know that i wondered about you. i wondered who you would be, and why you wouldn't come sooner.

i know it wasn't up to you to decide. it was a God-thing, and just because you're here doesn't mean i fully understand his reasoning.

but, as your daddy says - always remember that what you know makes up the tiniest fraction of the big picture. what you know is infinitely smaller than what you don't.

and that can be scary. it can frighten us to stop and think about how much we don't know. but that doesn't change the truth of it.

we don't know what the future holds, but we know the one who holds it.

i don't know who you will turn out to be when you get bigger, but you don't have to wait until you're bigger to be who God created you to be. do things now. now, when you're too young to realize that one person alone cannot change the world.

do it anyway. may you be so in tune with what God wants for your life that you realize he wants you at the center of his will more than you want to be there. may you trust his prodding and call on your life above all else.

may you be entrenched in what the God of the universe thinks of you, and be more caught up in that, than what any person thinks of you.

may your mama realize more and more that God holds you in his hands. just as he holds the world. may i remember that he is trust-worthy and true even when i do my best to mess it all up.

i will do my best not to be too embarrassing and mama-bear when you get older. but you are my people. you are my people more than anyone else in this world, and i can't pretend i don't have mean thoughts toward anyone who wishes you harm. even now it makes my blood boil to think that anyone in this world could possibly prefer to spend their time with anyone else, and it hasn't even happened yet.

please know, my dear babes, that mommy always has your back. and daddy will always hold mommy back when necessary.

i love you more than words could ever express.

i won't say you're my everything because that is not the role you play, but you pack so much into your tiny beings, and i am beyond grateful for who you are, and that i have been blessed in the way that allows me to be called your mama.

my loves

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

choosing gratitude. again.

as you can probably tell from my latest posts, my thinking has encompassed a lot of really heavy things recently. big, heavy things. and i'm still thinking about those things, but i'm trying not to get carried away by them. i'm trying to recognize that there are a lot of tough things in the world. there are things i should pay attention to, and there are things about my life that need to change in light of those things.

but my life shouldn't end up void of joy because i recognize these things. i don't want to end up so focused there that i forget how to appreciate what's right in front of me.

i've struggled a bit lately with the big things i've written about, and i've struggled with the small, everyday things - like my whole life feeling like an exercise in futility at times.

another meal to prepare. another load of laundry. another picking up of the toys. and tomorrow we'll do all of it again.

sigh. but. those are not the only pieces of my life. all around me i can find a whole heckuva lot to be grateful for. i can get sucked into complaining, or i can be grateful.

it's a choice. a choice that i make daily.

this morning i'm choosing gratitude. i choose gratitude for the coffee in my mug. i choose gratitude for my kids' sleepy heads. i choose gratitude for the time i got to spend getting my mind in the right place this morning. i choose gratitude for the progress we're making in the kitchen - and i want to keep choosing gratitude even after we finish it.

here are a couple photos from during last weekend, and at the end of last weekend:

sans sink & counters

apparently this was the original floor in our house
ie: it could be worse.

sink in place. counters still need to be attached,
but look how pretty!

yes, we still have a ways to go, but this one was a big step. the next steps are finishing the drywall on the other side, cutting and staining the "backsplash", and painting. oh, and closing up that hole under the sink.

we're actually talking about what we want to do for the shelves, and i'm thinking about how i want to arrange things on them {which may be a little early, but that's how i roll}.

despite the fact that i'd have much preferred to have a fully put-together kitchen in a few weeks versus this long, drawn-out process, i do think it has made me more grateful for each advancement.

but i don't want to lose that. i don't want to finish it, and be a few months in, and forget what it used to look like. i want to remember where it was when we moved in. i want to remember how horribly ugly it was before because i don't want to get grumpy about it. in some senses it will probably never be my dream kitchen because it's an odd shape, and not completely open to the dining room and family room, but we do have an open floor plan, so i can't complain too much at the end of the day.

anyway... i think i need to shift my expectations a bit. the goal is to keep moving forward. keep on moving in the right direction regardless of the pace.

sometimes the sooner the better. there are things that tend to be all or nothing. you do them quickly, or not at all. but. a lot of things take incremental change. most things change incrementally whether you want them to or not. it's best to dictate the change instead of letting it dictate you.

it'll happen either way, right?

so today. today i'm choosing gratitude. today i'm making wise decisions about how i spend my time. i'm making wise decisions about the food i choose to eat, and how i live my life.

i'll start today.

and i'll start again tomorrow. hopefully in a slightly better place.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

anne frank was wrong.

{found via pinterest from flickr}

don't worry, i'll get to anne frank. just stick with me for a minute.

yesterday my thought patterns were all over the place. from gratitude for my husband and the years we've spent together, to gratitude for a good and tiring morning with my two little miracles, to ruminating on a book i recently finished about what's next for me vocationally, to thinking i don't have enough of anything i need to actually make a business venture work.

i spent most of the day grateful, but by the end of it i felt defeated. defeated over stupid things that may or may not be true. i felt defeated, and like i'm nowhere close to enough.

i'm really sick of the felt need we have in our culture to feel and act superior to other people. i know life is not a competition. and more than that, i feel like a fraud when i treat it like it is because i know how much i fall short.

i like to think that my blind spots and weaknesses aren't as big of a deal as other people's blind spots and weaknesses. but they are. they are, and in some ways they're worse because i have a lot more control over mine than anyone else's.

but it all feels like a competition. and despite my crazy-competitive nature, i don't want life to be a competition.

competition can be a good thing. it can be a very good thing, but one person winning in life doesn't mean everyone {or anyone} else necessarily has to lose. we live like it matters whether we "win" in our little tiny definition of that word. we say we can all win, but we live like we don't care about the rest of the poor schmucks in the world.

if i'm being honest then i'll tell you that sometimes when other people have really good news i'm not fully happy for them because it makes me feel like less than enough. but that's on me. that's my failing.

and if you didn't already notice, that means i need a whole lot of grace.

as humans we can be poor in a whole host of different ways. too often we focus on money. we focus on it if we have an abundance, we focus on it if we don't have enough. we even focus on how to get more of it in order to keep up with all the people around us. we can fall prey to the trappings of this world no matter where we live in it. and i do. i do all the time.

i do even though i don't want to, and i actively push back against it in many areas of life.
blind spots. i'm telling you.

last night when i was saying goodnight to keane he grabbed me around the neck when i leaned down to kiss him goodnight, and he said "mommy you're stuck, you can't get out." so i just lay my head next to him for a minute and told him how much i love him. at one point he just said "you're my mommy." and i told him - "yep. i'm your mommy and adele's mommy, and i wouldn't change that for the world."

in that moment i felt like i was doing okay. but many moments of many days, i don't.

this world will pass away. there's no sense in staking much of anything on the things of this world. but the souls of this world will find rest with God at the end of it, or they will live eternally without him.

i have been realizing more and more how much of a mess everything is in this world.

i've recently seen the deeper reality of some of the lies that the world and our culture feed to us every single day. i've understood some of them at another level than before.

this isn't to say that i don't have any blind spots. i know they're still there. but this world is so messed up.

we watched "the big short" a few nights ago, and it threw me for a loop. it made me realize the depth of our selfishness. power corrupts. and the insidious thing we don't really allow ourselves to get is that anyone can fall into that pit. i like to think i'm immune to that, but i'm not. {if you don't believe me just google "stanford prison experiment"}

i'm incredibly selfish, and if i don't have anyone to check me, i can start getting really entitled. ahem. i DO start getting really entitled. i start talking about what i deserve, and how come this, that, and the other thing are not about me.

and this is where anne frank {finally} comes in. there's a quote from the diary of anne frank that gets thrown around a lot. a quote that says: "despite everything, i believe people are really good at heart."

we cling to that quote because we want it to be true. and i think she really did believe it, and she really did want it to be true.

but she was wrong.

we are broken and messed up. we are incredibly incredibly selfish. we are not really good at heart. we are really broken. and you may not want to believe that. you may flat-out reject it. but i think deep down we each know it to be true of ourselves. we know that we are the chief of the selfish people in this world, and we are each in need of a savior.

we've been taught that we can save ourselves. and we keep trying. we keep striving, and striving, and striving, and we keep falling short. we keep thinking "if only i could do this"; "if only i could get there"; "if only...". but the people that have gotten there will tell you that it's not all they imagined it to be.

if nothing in this world can satisfy, then we must have been made for another world. {c.s. lewis said something like this. probably not verbatim, but also not my original idea.}

anne frank was wrong. we are not really good at heart. and we were made for more than this.
both. simultaneously.
because our shortcomings are covered by our creator. our hearts can be changed.
we need only to ask to be transformed.

hear me though - this is not an easy fix. because it will not be easy to be live differently. our selfishness will continue to pull us. our brokenness will not be fully healed. scars and struggles will remain.

we were made for another world.
and until we get there we will still have struggles.

but our savior has overcome the world.
we don't have to strive for what the world says we need.
it will not satisfy.

we can be free from the rat race.
we can be free to be thankful for what we've been given, all while recognizing that we will all return to dust at the end of the day.

the things of this world will not satisfy.
we can be grateful for what they are, but we have to keep them in their proper place.

anne frank was wrong. people are not really good at heart. but God is good. we don't have to believe in the goodness of our fellow man to trust that God is good, and that he is in control of his creation.

we don't have to believe in the goodness of our humankind to have a reason to hope. when we hope in man we will be disappointed every. single. time.

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. they will rise up on wings like eagles. they will run and not grow weary. they will walk and not grow faint. {isaiah 40:31}

please forgive the long-windedness today.