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No Substitute

August 20, 2018

She had a 1-hour pitching lesson in Greenwood late Friday night, followed up with a 2-hour pitching practice session in our backyard yesterday morning.

Hair soaked in sweat. Beet red, flushed face. Occasional sighs of frustration and exhaustion.

She has learned that there is no substitute for hard work, when it comes to pitching. You can’t step onto the mound and fake your way through it. The game will reveal any and all weaknesses. It isn’t merciful or discretionary.

Every pitcher out there, and every parent of a pitcher, knows exactly what I’m talking about. Pitchers step onto the mound, knowing that the rewards could be great, but that the risks are even greater.

Sending a shout-out today to all athletes out there who aren’t afraid of taking risks, in pursuit of great rewards. You inspire those around you. You really do. Don’t forget that. 

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Stepping in…

August 20, 2018

Morganne’s fall softball season started last night.

During her first game, her team was in need of a first base coach.  So, Grace volunteered to do it.  I was pleasantly surprised by her confidence and willingness to get out there and do that.  She seemed excited to take hold of an opportunity to be as bossy as she wanted.  Ha!  She thoroughly enjoyed it!  And Morganne enjoyed having her out there with her…

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Taking Command

August 20, 2018

I took Gracie down to Columbus today for her first practice with her new travel team.

New teammates. New coaches. New practice facility. New sets of curious, young eyes looking at her hand…and, undoubtedly, wondering how well she can play.

She knows that they are looking, but she is un-phased.

Quietly, she steps into the batting cages and rips one ball after another from the pitching machine. They enter into a little competition among themselves. She comes out on top. 

I sat back and, as usual, nervously watched it all unfold…silently rooting for her in my heart. Parents watch her, and then look at one another, seemingly impressed by what they’ve just seen. She looks over at me, and smiles a confident smile…and I smile a confident smile right back (even though, inside, my stomach is in knots).

She walked into that new situation today with great ease and confidence. True to her team’s name, “Demand Command”, she took command of the situation. A great start to what we hope will be a great season. As a result, I felt I had no choice but to reward her by picking up her favorite DQ treat on the way home. Let’s just say that she had no trouble taking command of that situation as well.  #icecream#dinnerofchampions

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One Team

August 20, 2018

Okay, so I’m filing this under my growing list of “THINGS I WISH I HAD DONE SOONER”.

Last year, a certain little someone in our family noticed that his trophy collection paled in comparison to others within our family. I could tell that bummed him out a little bit. Besides a few words of encouragement, I wasn’t sure what else to do in response to that…until last week. I had a small epiphany. I went around our house, from bedroom to bedroom, gathering up all of the trophies I could find. I cleared off one of our shelves upstairs, and put all of the kids’ trophies together in one spot.

One collection of trophies. One family. One team.

When one of our members wins, we all win.

I hope that’s the message that our kiddos hear, loud and clear, each time they walk by that shelf…especially a certain little someone who has yet to fully discover how much of a winner he really is. 

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Do it anyway!

August 17, 2018

“Do it anyway, Carly!”

That phrase has been bouncing around in my mind a lot this past year. It’s a phrase from one of my favorite poems (below). It’s so hard to get it right. But, I’m trying. I’m trying to remind myself to follow through with those words.

Sometimes, the best we have to give to this world just isn’t enough in the eyes of others (and if you happen to fall into the people-pleaser category like yours truly…well…that can really eat at you). Other times, the best we have to give this world is too much (in the eyes of others), and can foster jealousy. But, we have to just continue to give it our best anyway. Right? Because, in the end, it’s not between us and the world at all. It’s between us and God.

When someone refuses to root for your kiddo, root for their kiddo anyway. When someone tries to avoid saying “thank you” at all costs, continue thanking them anyway. When someone you love continues to act like you don’t exist on social media, keep acknowledging that they exist. When someone won’t stop trying to outdo you, refrain from always trying to outdo them in return. When someone purposefully excludes your child, be sure to include their child. When someone mistreats those you love, try to treat those they love with kindness. When someone tries to do anything they can to bring a little bit of discouragement your way, try to bring a little bit of encouragement their way. I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point.

I struggle with this. Sometimes it’s hard. I’m a work in progress. But, I am trying….because, in the final analysis, I know that God won’t hold me accountable for the actions of others. He will only hold me accountable for my actions (and reactions). There is so much freedom in that thought, isn’t there? There is freedom in showing grace to others…knowing that you are extending the kind of unmerited favor that you would like to receive in return. There is so much freedom that can come from those three little words: “Do it anyway!”

Sharing this today because I know there are others out there who are struggling with this same thing right now. We will never fully get this right, friends, but we can keep trying.

Control what you can control.

Let go of what you can’t.

Give the world your best.

And let God take care of the rest. ♥

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The Catalyst

August 16, 2018

Eight years ago today, I met this beautiful girl, and became her mom.

What a memorable, life-altering day that was.  For me.  For her.  For so many.  I often remind her that Haven and River are in our family because of her.  She was the one who made me fall in love with the miracle of adoption…so much, in fact, that I felt compelled to do it again and again.  She was the catalyst.  She was (and is) an amazing gift from God.

Happy Gotcha Day, Gracie Girl!!! 

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Always better…

August 15, 2018

Because chips and salsa always taste better
when you’re sharing them with a friend. 

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