A love for soccer

So I’ve been kicking around some thoughts, and have decided I need to actually throw them out there. See, I’ve been reading how Americans don’t like soccer, and how they never will. Even to the point of they shouldn’t, as this is the downfall of America… And all I can think is, “Ugh.”

I have played this game since I was in the 3rd grade (and that was a long time ago…). I played through high school, and into college. My love for this game is deep. I will be honest to say I’m not a huge fan of watching… it makes me want to play! I want to be out on the grass. I want to feel the ball in my hands (I have played keep since 9th grade) or at my feet. I want on the field! Not because I think I’m all that and a bag of chips, but because I love this game.

In high school, I was not a fan of football. AT. ALL. Then I started dating a guy who actually played football, and my world opened up. I began to learn what it meant to play football. I began to understand the calls. The drive. The skill. The effort. I began to appreciate what it takes to play football. And I began to enjoy it. I don’t play football, but I have a love for the game today I would not have had. (Thank you M.D. for taking the time to teach me.)

Golf has always been boring to me. Until the last couple years, when my husband has been learning the game. I’m now starting to appreciate all it takes to put that little ball into that hole. I am enjoying his love of the game, and learning to enjoy watching how the stance matters. How little tweaks effect where the ball goes. And I am enjoying taking a swing or two…

My point? You have to understand something to appreciate it. To learn to like it, you need to know what’s going on. To understand the skill that goes into weaving a ball through other bodies, from one goal to the other. To see the chess like beauty of give and take as teammates work together to get the ball to finally fall into the net. This is not brute force. You can’t run people over. You can’t hit them. This is a game of finesse. Of quick touches, curving balls and well timed placement. Of keepers conducting a symphony being played in grassy, sweaty notes.

You think it’s easy? You think it’s boring? I would challenge you to play a season. Or at least talk to someone who does. Begin to understand what it means to be off sides. Or how hard it is to actually hit the ball with your head. Will you love it? Maybe. Maybe not. But I bet that you would appreciate the beauty of it more than you do now.

And you might even enjoy it!

Advertisements

I Love Bethie?

I started this life (well, the part of it I can remember, anyway) the athletic type: strong, confident, probably even cocky. Somewhere along the way to having 6 kids, I turned into Lucy Ricardo! I find myself in situations where I just shake my head and wonder “how did I end up here?”

How did I end up with banana, avocado, and marker on my walls? How did I end up with fingernail polish on my bedroom floor? How did I end up changing diapers for 15 years? How did I end up running to three different schools while trying to keep a baby on a schedule? How did I end up with 6 people calling me Momma (or Mommy-o, as seems to be the current favorite)?

I have written about some of these moments, like the cat tree, the Gatorade, the baby powder… sometimes my life feels like one big mess. And not usually one I actually create… though I do that pretty well, too. In my head I, all too often, see Lucy stuffing chocolates in her mouth and think, yep… I’m fighting a losing game, too!

I am sure some of this is to smooth away that cocky side of me that thought I could do it all. Some of it is just to keep me humble. Some of it is just to make sure I can laugh at myself, something I did not do well when I was younger. Mostly, I think it’s so I can truly appreciate these words from a 9 yr old boy, “Mommy-o, I love you!”

What Are We Doing?

It’s 2012. We have made huge progress in so many areas. A computer in nearly every home. For that matter, a computer in nearly every pocket (oh, and by the way, it also doubles as a phone!). TVs bigger than most people’s windows…

And yet, on other things we seem to be stuck or even going backward! Sadly, these seem to be on things that are really important. I mean, who cares how big your TV is when someone’s life hangs in the balance?

I just read about a sweet little girl who is fighting such a fight. Who is being told she just has to wait to die because her skin is black. Does that make you angry? It should if it were true. But if it were true, you would hear about it everywhere you turn, the radio, the computer in your pocket, that bigger than your window TV…

No, the reason she must wait to die is not the color of her skin. It is something just as uncontrollable for her. It is her brain development. Her mental capacity. Her “quality of life.” Does that make you less angry? It shouldn’t.

It’s 2012. How have we not learned that kids, even if they have “issues,” believe what they are told? In the eyes of the woman carrying the baby, that’s what the unborn child is, a baby. In the eyes of the dr. it’s just a bunch of tissue. In the eyes of this dr, this little girl is just not worthy of his time. In the eyes of her parents and those who know and love her, she’s their princess, worth everything they have. Who do you think she believes?

I have a nephew. In the eyes of his first-grade classmates, he’s handicapped. In the eyes of his parents and those of us who love him, he is a smart-as-a-whip satirist who makes us laugh. All the time. And he knows it. And he’s probably the key to curing the disease that will kill you if you don’t let him grow up to fix it.

What will this little girl grow up to be? Maybe a great scientist or maybe just a simple ray of sunshine in someone’s life. We may never know if this dr has his way. Welcome back to the stone age.

You can read about her here. Now, go kiss your kids, and tell them what they need to hear. They will believe you.

Hey, hey, hey…

I’ve previously written about what nicknames mean to my family. (If you missed it, click here to catch up!) Yep, I have my Boo Bear, my Booga Boo, my Baby Cakes, my Sugar Bear and my A’gator! They all have some flavor and meaning to my little Momma heart.

Imagine my concern when the only thing I could get A to call her baby brother was… Baby! I was so concern… well… if I’m honest, I was flat out terrified!

At first it was so sweet… see my kids are talkers. Which is good! Except, maybe, at 6:30am – I’m no morning person! Do know what happens in a house with 4 older siblings who are talkers? Yep, they do all the talking for her! So when my baby girl walked into the hospital room, climbed up on my bed, and laid eyes on the little cuddly bundle next to me, she threw her arms open, fingers grasping in a “give me give me” fashion, and SAID, “Baby! Baby! Baby!” my heart melted! When, two weeks later, she was still walked into any room he was in and she would say, “Mwha, mwha. Baby. Baby!” because she wanted to kiss him, I loved it! But when 2.5 months later, if I said, “Say Hi N!” she would say, “Hi Baby!” I began to think he would be “Baby” the rest of his life!

Then my hubby, N and I made a trip to Phoenix for a conference. On the flight out there, I looked down at that sweet baby and thought, “You sweet Boo Boo!” And there it was… the nickname I thought wouldn’t come… Oh, yea of little faith!

I tried it out over the weekend. He would smile so sweetly at me… I told the older kids when we arrived home… and they all seemed to think it was pretty cool… Then I looked at my sweet almost 2 yr old, “Hey, A, say hi Boo Boo!” and she smiled, waived whole heartedly right in his face and said, “Hi Boo Boo!”

Yogi would be so proud. I know I was.

Welcome Home
Welcome home Boo Boo!

Confessions of a Junkie

It’s true. I can not deny it. It started when I was but a child. I am a junkie. And it shows when you shuffle my iPod. Duran Duran. Third Day. Journey. Francesca Battistelli. Elvis Presley. Gary Chapman. Hall & Oates. Cece Winans. Rosemary Clooney. Rich Mullins. Whitesnake. Tenth Avenue North. I could go on. I love the beat of a fun drum. The pulse of a driving guitar. The tickling of the ivories, even if they are electric.

Once, I would have told you it didn’t matter what I listened to. And when I was younger, that may have been true. However, two things happened. Maybe three. 1) For the most part, I don’t like country. Yes, I grew up in Wyoming. Yes, I live in Nashville. Go figure. 2) I became a Christian. 3) I got married.

The first two are pretty self-evident. You will find very little country on my iPod. Or in my CDs. Or in my cassettes. Or even in my LPs. (Yes, I still have LPs. For that matter, I still have a couple 8tracks, but that’s another blog.) There are the occasional hits or artists, but mostly, I’m a no country zone. Number 2 we will come back to.

Number 3 is where I learned much about me. My loving hubby also has a wide taste in music, only his taste is very different than mine. He will listen to anything that is hip, just to see what other people like about this or that. And that drives me a little bit crazy. He also will listen to instrumentals, which I can do for a little while, but I get bored. He also likes foreign music. Namely Japanese anime music. And this is where I realized something deep within the heart of me:

I am not a music junkie. I am a word junkie. I should have known this to be the case… I was the child that sat by the tape player and stopped and wrote down every word and then played again and wrote down more before the lyrics were included. Once that became the norm, I read EVERY WORD to EVERY SONG.

When I became a Christian, what was being said began to really matter to me. Not just lyrically, but what the overall message was. Was it hopeful? Was it glorifying man or Christ? Give me a good story with a draw to who Christ is, and I was hooked! Give me a song I can’t understand, and I’m OUT. And if it translates to talking about princesses and pudding… I’m gone.

I find myself now introducing music to my kids… yes, I still play the stuff I grew up with, but when there is no life in the words, I’m finding less and less life in the music. I find myself starting songs for them and then saying… ugh… next… I find I go back to the ones with really great lyrics more than the ones I once found to be a “fun” song.

I guess even a junkie can change.

No Rest for the Mommy

I’m awake. It’s 2:33 am, and I’m awake. I will be leaving the house in about 2 hours… I should be sleeping, but can’t. Seems to be the status quo right now. I keep telling myself I can sleep in the recovery room…

We will be off to bring baby N into this world in just a couple of hours. This little boy who seems to like to dance on my bladder will be taking his first breath of air in just a few hours. Have you ever thought about that? Pretty amazing.

Sweet S asked my friend tonight if N was already at the hospital, and Mommy and Daddy just needed to go pick him up… how nice would it be if it were that easy??? Alas, I have a bigger job ahead then just stopping in at the hospital to pick him up. Since there are two under her already, you would think she would know this. She IS the child who just kissed my belly before dinner tonight. The same one who hugs my belly because she wants to hug N.

G, however, keeps telling me that my bellybutton is a microphone so he can talk to N. Silly boy!

Yep, the kids are excited. Mommy and Daddy too… Happy Birthday and Welcome, Baby N! Now, if I could just get comfortable enough to sleep…

Perspective, Perception and Point of View

I’ve been stewing on this since somewhere around four this morning. And since it’s dinner time right now, I’ll probably be working on this for the next three hours. Or later…

Have you ever really tried to see something from someone else’s point of view? I mean really get into their shoes. Understand their thoughts and reasonings. To understand their perception of the world around them. It’s not easy to do… to step out of yourself and know someone else.

And it’s even harder to teach a 10 year old. Tonight J was yelling at S about her perception of an event. She thought he took something, and it hurt her feelings. He said took it, and gave it back and then G took it. Now he’s mad because he’s being blamed. Ugh! How do you help someone understand that what they think happened may only be half of the truth?

Then I started going through email. I got an ad from on of those places that searches for people from William Ninis, and it made my heart hurt. William J. Ninis was my big brother from another mother. We spent two years in college together, but it could have been a lifetime. He made me laugh. He protected me. He cheered for me.

I say for me… really it was for several of the girls I ran with… He was our Billy. Our big teddy bear. We loved him. He loved us. Our sophomore year he want pictures made with his “family” (seems to me he won a sitting) and we had our pictures taken with him… four girls and Billy… looking at that picture is bitter sweet.

Billy passed away 5 years ago now. He was 35. Way too young. Cancer. Is. Not. My. Friend.

The bitter part is not just that he’s gone. The bitter part is that we allowed time to pull us apart. He ended up living in the same state as I was, four hours away from me. Dying. And I did not know. I found out through the grapevine that he was sick. It took me a week to work up enough nerve to call a number I found that might be his family’s. He died during that week. I never got to talk to him again. Bitter pill.

Billy had a rough several years since college. I believe he was ashamed of what he had done. I’ll never know. He didn’t tell me. He didn’t tell me he was sick. He just stopped answering my emails. And I didn’t call to ask. And part of me wants to cry every time I think about it. I want to hug his neck and tell him I love him.

And I want my kids to not taste the same bitter pill. I want them to understand they need to take care to understand as much as they want to be understood. That they need to be able to look inside themselves and see the people that really matter to them, and keep them close.

Billy and one of his girls

Smelly Friends

This morning I was snuggling with my girls as they were watching “Peep” on the DVR. It’s a very cute show about discovering the world around you. This morning the characters Peep and Chirp were discovering a smell. Or rather that their friend Duck was stinky!

What to do with a stinky friend? Duck talked to a raccoon, who told him that if he carried a box of things from the garbage, he would smell better, because it smelled so bad. At the same time, Peep and Chirp were collecting flowers and grass, because they smelled good and the two friends thought that would help Duck smell better.

While I’m watching this, a thought hit me… our friends are like that. How do you pick your friends? Do you look at people and think, if I hang with this person, they will make me look better because they are messier then I am? Or do you look a people and think, if I hang with this person they will help me become better because they have their act together more then I do?

What about your loved ones? Do you encourage them to pick better friends, or let them hang with people who only make them “look” better?

I’ve watched people who choose to hang out with someone because they are a mess and it makes them feel better about yourself… the thing is, carrying that box of garbage stagnates them. There is no one to challenge them. If you are not challenged, you don’t grow.

I think I want to pick my friends from the rose garden and not the trash can… there might be some thorns to prick me and make me uncomfortable, but there will not be a smelly Grouch to make me stinky!

We Are Nashville

It’s become almost a battle cry, “We Are Nashville.” The whole thing was pretty surreal. I mean, really, who expects to get over 17 inches of rain in a 48 hour time frame? Who expects to see local parks transform into lakes over night? Who expects to see interstates you can’t drive? Or buildings floating down said interstates? Those are images you see on TV, not in your back yard.

And yet… there was almost no TV coverage. Well, if you were here, there was nonstop coverage, but outside Middle Tennessee… not so much. I had a friend call from Kansas two days later saying she had just heard…

WHAT? Is this not the age of 24 hour news? How can they go so long without covering what has been called a 500 year flood? How is that not news worthy? People lost their homes, their cars, their lives. Churches were closed because of… rain? Malls were swamped under 10 feet of water. And somewhere someone said there’s no story in Nashville?

Much like a tornado skipping through the land, the flood waters devastated one area, and a mile down the road was not touched. Streets were shut down, restaurants were closed, curfews were enacted. But there was no story?

I wonder if that’s because Nashville did not cry out to the government to save us? Nashville did not blame the President for the water that rush us. Nashville did not wait for buses to clear us out. Nashville did not use this as a chance to steal from someone else. In fact, Nashville‘s churches stepped up, volunteers showed up, neighbors started helping neighbors. People risked their lives for complete strangers.

I am so proud of the place I call home. And I am a bit saddened by the reality of, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Nashville got wet, we didn’t bleed. And somehow that much water was not enough news to most of the media. We didn’t whine about it. We didn’t take our frustrations out on other people. We did what we do best… we dug in, and we took care of the problems, and we took care of each other.

We Are Nashville. Music City Rising. The volunteer state. The way it should be.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=pFjaQoOdJvI