ad sense

Sunday, June 17, 2018

'Attaway, Kid: An Ode to Baseball Dads (Reboot)



I have been watching youth baseball in the Northern Virginia area on and off for twenty-three years. When I met my future husband he was straight out of college and coaching Little League with his brother and his high school buddies. So even before I became a mother of three baseball players and a writer who hails the merits of the "baseball mom" I spent lots of time as a spectator watching both baseball players and their parents in the bleachers.

There is a certain stereotype of dads in youth sports. I've seen the accounts of over-involved, over-bearing dads. I even saw an article that mentioned police being called to Little League game because two "adults" couldn't handle the pressure of watching little people throw a ball around. And yet, in my experience, although I've certainly run into some crazy, most often I've witnessed quite the opposite. We all know it's not quite as fun to talk or write about men who behave themselves - men who show up for their kids, not their own egos. But, the vast majority of them do just that. They encourage them, teach them and love them well. I've watched countless daddies watching countless baseball games, so I thought I'd mention a thing or two about some gentlemen that you won't read about in the newspaper or see in your Facebook feed.

First of all, I'll say at the outset that I am a big fan of the moms. We have our own way at the ball field. We set up our chairs with umbrellas and foot rests. We lay out blankets with toys and snacks for our younger children. We joke about the travesty it is that most ballplayers wear white pants and trade advice on the best stain removers. We spray copious amounts of bug repellent and sunscreen on our boys. We provide all manner of protein bars and Gatorades and band-aids to any kid who passes by. We assure a friend that of course, that was a legitimate hit by her son. Who cares that the ball went straight through the 2nd baseman's legs? Little Johnny hit the ball. He is safe at first. That was an awesome hit. (This is what my husband calls a "mommy hit".) I also happen to know a mom - or three - who can throw a mean fastball and coach base runners like nobody's business.

The daddies? They are a little different. Over the years at games ranging from the 8U-12U NVTBL Championships to the Virginia State Little League Tournaments to High School Regional Play-offs, I have watched them. I've recognized how vitally important and special those differences are.

I've noticed how a boy going up to bat might only look to one other person besides his coach. He might just steal a glance outside the fence and lock eyes with his dad. Of course, there are dads who coach too much from the bleachers. But most often, I've watched how a dad simply gives an encouraging nod or a positive word. I've seen how a player can relish that eye contact - can, in fact, crave it.

I've watched how sometimes a dad will move down to the very end of the fence away from the crowd when his boy is up to bat to relieve the pressure on his kid. I've seen some stand alone watching from as far away as they can on a hill beyond the outfield. I've seen some sit silently and assuredly present behind home plate. I've sat with some who shout and joke and encourage with every single play and every single at bat.

While many sports fathers are portrayed as intensely serious about the game, I have found that it's the dads who do the best job at lightening the mood. On the teams we've been on over the years it's the dads who come up with silly nicknames that stick with our kids. One of our players went flying face first into the right field fence when he was nine years old.  His nickname, "Fence", stuck with him well into high school. I've listened as some dads shout silly phrases to diffuse a pressure situation, not only to their own kids, but to others as well. Some men jump high out of their chairs, smack hands against the fence and raise their arms in victory when we hear "Strike three!" or see a ball sail over the fence. In contrast, I've seen a dad as he watched his son hit a walk-off home run to win a big game, just stand still, eyes wide with wonder, shaking his head in disbelief, grinning from ear to ear and not uttering a single word.

And what of those dads who are their player's most ruthless critics when things go wrong? Sure, I've seen that many times. But I've also seen something else. I've seen a dad agree to take his frustrated hitter out to the batting cage at late hours of the night to help him practice. Not at his own insistence, but because the boy asked and in fact, needed to methodically swing his bat over and over while his biggest fan quietly fed balls from behind the L Screen. I very clearly remember watching a boy and his dad during the Virginia State Little League tournament about five years ago. I saw the 12 year old boy as tall as his father blink back tears after he had struggled at the plate during a game. I did not hear instruction, criticism or advice come out of his dad's mouth. I simply saw that father wrap that him up in a bear hug and sway him back and forth, whispering support and love in his ear. And, by the way, I watched that same boy hit two balls out of the park the next day. Coincidence?  Maybe, maybe not.

People all over the country including me will be at the ball park this weekend as we celebrate Father's Day. We will run into every sort and kind of dad. I will remember that we live in a world where everyone seems compelled to share their opinions on every blasted thing - especially parenting. I have heard baseball dads praised. I have heard them criticized. I've heard whispers that that one is way too hard on his kid while that one goes too easy. That one thinks his kid can do no wrong. That one will not shut up about his kid. That one thinks his kid will go to the Majors next week.

In the end, despite any judgment or criticism I might have of the way another person parents, we all know that not a one of us is remotely perfect. I am 100% sure of one thing and that is that there is a strand of truth that runs through every single dad I have encountered on the ball field. Each deeply, completely, earnestly is doing the best he knows how to do for his kid and each screws up and succeeds all the darn time. From the harshest critics to the biggest supporters, I've no doubt that these men love their children to the ends of the earth.

So this weekend as I settle in to the bleachers at the ball field, I'll be grateful for all the dads present because I am fully aware that there are many that are missing. And I'll know that there are boys from six to sixty who would give any thing to have their daddies in the bleachers for one more day whether cheering or criticizing, sitting quietly or arguing with umpires. I am hopeful this weekend that those who have lost their dads feel the presence of their fathers from the tips of their cleats to the tops of their ball caps. This year in particular, there are two sons who I know will suffer on Sunday. I will be praying for a 13 year old ball player from our area who lost his dad a year ago. And as I do every year, I'll be lifting up my very favorite baseball coach who lost his dad over thirty years ago. It seems to me that on Father's Day the pain for a grown man missing his dad is the same as it is for a young boy.

I never met my husband's father, but I have looked to the heavens and thanked him many times over for the man he raised. I have no doubt that he has not missed a game since the Lord took him home when my husband was seventeen years old. I know in my heart that he watched his son play his senior year of baseball and he has watched him coach our sons and many others. Very often when I notice the serious, unflappable expression on my husband's face break into a relaxed grin when the win is near, I look up at the sky and give a wink to my father-in-law. I have a feeling that in addition to the bleachers filled with baseball dads this weekend, there will be an equally raucous cheering section in heaven.  I'll bet my father-in-law will make room for our friend, Tom, as he watches over his boy, Ryan. There will be some high fives, a subtle fist pump or two, and a couple of wide smiles and a gleams of pride in some fathers' eyes up there.  I have a feeling that though we won't hear their voices, there will be a chorus of baseball dads cheering, " 'Attaway, kid.  That's my boy."

Happy Father's Day, Dads. You are cherished.

Friday, June 15, 2018

5 Friday Favorites: June 15, 2018



Happy Friday, Friends. 


It's time for my Friday link up with A Little Bit of EverythingGrace and Love, and Momfessionals

For some reason I'm having trouble wrapping this week up into a tidy, numbered list, so I'm just gonna start blabbing at you.

It's been a lot. School ended this week and instead of just chilling out like the good Lord intended, I went ahead and made about 49 appointments for all of my people. This week I have either scheduled or attended appointments at an optometrist, a dentist, an orthodontist, a pediatrician, a physical therapist, an orthopaedic surgeon, a veterinarian and an oral surgeon.

Y'all. Summertime is so relaxing.

The bright light is that the doctor who is going to take Kyle's wisdom teeth out this summer looks like Bradley Cooper if I squint my eyes a little. Which is why when he asked if I had any questions at our consultation, I was really sad I couldn't come up with any because then he left and the highlight of our week of medical mania ended more abruptly than I had hoped. I plan to come up with a list of many inquiries before his procedure day.

In other news, on Wednesday Steve had a meniscus tear in his knee repaired only a few hours before he was set to coach Drew's baseball team in the Middle School Little League Championship game. This is otherwise known as FREAKIN' KNEE SURGERY. I just want to clear up any confusion there because then you'll know the specific brand of man I'm dealing with.

As they were prepping him for FREAKIN' KNEE SURGERY, he informed the nurses and anesthesiologist that he planned to coach the game that night. This resulted in no less than three different medical professionals coming out to the waiting room to tell me that my husband was being an idiot under no circumstances was my husband to coach that game, no matter what he said and that I had to take control of the situation. I, of course, had already had this conversation with my beloved idiot soulmate, so I was basically like this


I'm not saying I didn't try. I did. I pleaded and begged and called him names and rolled my eyes and did all the things that I'm sure marriage counselors across the nation suggest you do when dealing with conflicts in holy matrimony. The only thing that made me feel a little better is when I talked to a whole slew of my girlfriends who also happen to be wives - mostly baseball coach's wives - and when I said, "I mean. There are husbands who listen to their wives, right? There are some who would agree not to do this, right?" And they pretty much all said,


Well, I, at the very least, did my best to follow the advice. I told him as I carried the bucket of baseballs up to the dugout and he hobbled next to me on crutches to be sure to sit on a chair in the dugout and keep his foot elevated on the bucket. I reminded him that they had informed us that his decision making skills could still be compromised after having been under general anesthesia only four hours before the game. The print out of instructions they gave me specifically stated that he should not text, email or engage on social media in anyway for 24 hours. I just can't imagine why they didn't specifically include on that list, "Patient should not coach the 3rd baseline even if patient believes that everyone needs to relax and it'll be fine because a fungo bat is exactly the same as a cane."

In the end, none of those medical professionals showed up at the ballpark because if they had they would have looked me dead in the eye and said,


He coached 3rd base using a bat as a cane. He stretched his leg out in front of him while the kids were in the field. All of his 13 and 14 year old players banded together in an effort to keep me out of the dugout, so I sat angry and pouting with my arms crossed on the bleachers and then lo and behold, my number one favorite thing of the week happened even though I'm really mad about it.

1. Middle School Little League Champs


Those dadgum kids and that dadgum man and his dadgum assistant coaches went and won the dadgum championship game and everything was fine.

Y'all. Marriage is super easy.


2. This Kid is a Senior in High School


Again, it might be wrong to list this as a favorite because I'm kinda mad about it. Five minutes ago I bought him this Batman shirt at Target. I told him it was called a muscle shirt, so he thought that meant when he put it on he would suddenly be super strong. He went around that day trying to pick up all of our furniture,


but lifting up his chunky baby brother proved the most challenging feat.


We'll be planning for him to leave for college next year. What is happening?

3. Nobody Loves Me Like Jesus by Third Day



Next week Steve and I will be in Nashville to see one of our favorite bands, Third Day, on their Farewell Tour. This is one of my favorite songs off of their latest album. Especially this week when that whole in sickness and in health thing came into play. Oh, I kid. Kinda. ;-)

4. A Couple of Tweezerman Products I Like



Hey, Pre-Menopausal ladies? Are you finding the need to have tweezers stashed around in every place that you find the need to have reading glasses stashed around? Please don't tell me it's just me. I have tweezers in my purse, in my car, on my desk and stashed in various other places around the community because WHAT IS HAPPENING ON MY CHIN? Sweet Lord. Anyway, these slanted tip tweezers from Tweezerman are the very, very, very best and they come in cute colors which I suppose is meant to make us feel better about our hormonal issues. That's all I have to say about that.

Also, I have some eyelash news. Which is not the same as fake news. It appears that Lash Boost from Rodan and Fields is legit because after a couple of months of using it my eyelashes are absolutely longer. YAY! Something that actually does what it says it will do. It's a beauty product miracle! Anyway, my lashes are long enough now that sometimes they get kind of tangled up. (Oh the tragedy, right? Roll your eyes now. I get it.) I found this lash comb by Tweezerman which I think might be helpful for this dilemma. I'll report back.

5. My Very Own Red-Headed Johnny Cash


Lest you think that the Skinner Family is full of a bunch of One Trick Ponies, I will have you know that Drew took guitar this year which gave me all manner of joy. He really likes it and the best part is that the guitar teacher had them dress all in black for their Spring Concert which makes me feel like I have my very own Johnny Cash living in my house. I should be honest and tell you that Steve and I might or might not have been following a baseball game on Game Changer during the concert, but that's neither here nor there. The music program at our middle school is awesome and I'm so grateful for teachers that expand my boys' horizons. Unfortunately, they didn't play Folsom Prison Blues, but I'm not counting that out for a future performance.

Have a great weekend, friends! And if you're interested my writing is featured on a couple of other sites this week. Here and Here. Thanks for stopping by!

Disclosure: The View From Behind Home Plate is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn small fees by linking to amazon.com.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Don't Fear the Final Inning


As I sit down with my laptop to write for NVTBL today, I'm watching the College Baseball Super Regional on TV. My Texas Longhorns have a three run lead, but the bad guys have bases loaded with one out.

So it follows that in addition to writing and watching, I am holding my breath and clinching my hands together and using all of my well honed jedi mind tricks to convince the baseball gods to extend my team's season by at least one more game.

I believe in the baseball world this is otherwise known as "DO NOT CHANGE YOUR SEAT. DO NOT GO TO THE RESTROOM. KEEP YOUR FEET, HANDS, TOES, FINGERS AND ALL OTHER BODY PARTS IN THE EXACT SAME POSITION OR ELSE YOU WILL RUIN THE MOJO AND THE BAD GUYS WILL WIN AND IT WILL BE ALL YOUR FAULT FOREVER MORE."

I will grant you that in the days when May turns to June and the end of the baseball season looms ominously and ever closer in the distance, it's possible that I take it a little far when it comes to my rituals, prayers and superstitions. And yet, I know that there are many fans in bleachers, in fold up chairs, and in stadium seats around the country who understand my specific brand of crazy.

Of course, we want to win because winning is indisputably more fun than is losing. But as I sit here feeling all of these familiar feelings of hope and uttering all of these oft-repeated pleas that maybe, just maybe this could not be the end for my team, I realize that in the last few weeks, this has been a universal feeling for parents at baseball diamonds all around the country. Whether it's Little League or NVTBL play offs or High School post-season play or the College World Series, countless moms and dads have held their collective breaths waiting and praying and hoping for their players to give them just one more day at the ballpark (or on the couch with the television tuned to the Longhorn Network, as the case may be.)

Because no matter if it's the parent of a "Little League-age-12 year old" or of a high school senior or even of a grown man playing in his last college game, for us parents, it's not as much about facing losing as it is about facing the possibility of that true, final inning.

READ THE REST HERE.


Friday, June 8, 2018

5 Friday Favorites: June 8, 2018




Happy Friday, Friends. 
It's time for my Friday link up with A Little Bit of EverythingGrace and Love, and Momfessionals

On Fridays I share things that made me happy from the week - a photo, a song, a quote, a beauty product, a recipe, a pair of cute shoes, etc. If it's a product, sometimes it's something I actually own and sometimes something I just saw online that gave me a smile. Sometimes it's serious and sometimes it's silly. I suppose I believe that God is in the simple details of life and yes, I can even find Him in a tube of lipstick! Here are some of my favorite things from this week.


1. Flags of Valor




We celebrated Steve's 50th birthday this week and for the first time that I can remember I got him a gift I was really excited to give him. Flags of Valor is a company in my area that employs combat veterans to create these amazingly beautiful wooden flags. They come in a few different sizes and they are all just breathtaking. I was able to go to the facility to choose mine because it's here in Northern Virginia. We can't wait to hang this on our porch.

2. What a Beautiful Name



We've been hearing a lot of words that strike fear in our hearts lately - cancer, tumor, death, hospice, chemo, divorce - the list is endless lately. I keep trying to remember that words like these have no real power, but it's hard. I can't even count how many times I've heard this song, but it was just this week that I downloaded it to my phone and really listened closely to the words.

Death could not hold you, the veil tore before you, you silenced the boast of sin and grave,
The heavens are roaring, the praise of your glory, for you are raised to life again
You have no rival, you have no equal, now and forever our God reigns
Yours is the glory, yours is the kingdom, you are the name above all names

There is no power in words, but there is power in one name. I'm trying hard to hold to that name and release the hold the other words try to have on me. What a beautiful rendition of this song by Travis Cottrell and his daughter, Lily. And indeed what a beautiful, wonderful, powerful name it is, the name of Jesus. Turn it up loud, friends.



3. Father's Day Ideas


Father's Day is just over a week away. I've got some ideas for you. 

A few years ago I randomly received a catalog in the mail from Uncommon Goods. They have some really unique and fun gifts, especially for dads. I thought this Pistachio Pedestal was really cute especially because my people love pistachio nuts.


For some reason, I've become quite a klutz lately and just last week, I think I broke three glasses. This is a problem I'd rather not think about. I'd rather just buy new cute glasses. This set of four Record Breaking Glasses is perfect for all the dads in my life. Shhh. Don't tell.



All the dads in my life are big golfers. I was as disappointed and shocked by Tiger Woods fall from grace as I could be. The illusion that he was a hero with a perfect life is one that we often create in our heads for icons of sports. I think the new Tiger Woods  book would be a fascinating read for anyone who has followed his career.



Steve actually bought this ION Pathfinder II Rugged Bluetooth Portable Speaker for his own self for his birthday the other day because that's the silver lining of being 50 years old. You do what you want. The sound quality is awesome and it's water resistant and has "telescoping wheels" which sounds super cool, but basically means if you're old, you don't have to lift it up. To off-set that they used the word "rugged" in the details at least twice and what man doesn't want something described as rugged? Also, it has a microphone in case your 13 year old wants to sing Sweet Home Alabama for the entire neighborhood. Not that I would know anything about that.



There is no doubt that any dad would love a wooden flag from Flags of Valor. If you are in the area, I highly recommend you visit the shop. I can't stop staring at ours.

4. My Two New Favorite Mascaras (for today)


That was obviously too much talk about "man" things, so I really have no choice but to include a beauty product on the 5 Friday Favorites List this week. My friend from high school, Mindye, suggested this It Cosmetics Superhero Elastic Stretch Volumizing Mascara. Mindye is smart and beautiful and even though I didn't think I needed elastic or stretch in a mascara, what do I know? I like this mascara a whole lot. It's really great, if not a bit pricey.






If you don't want to spend that much, I also really like L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Feline Washable Mascara. Again, why so many words, Beauty Product Naming People? Calm down. Whatever the name, this is is a great mascara for a great price.

5. Taking a Seat on the Bandwagon #ALLCAPS


I watched the Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup finals last night like it was my job. I cheered and gasped and panicked and got all teary eyed when Ovechkin hoisted the cup over his head. I acted like TJ Oshie was my very own son and pretended like I knew what "icing" meant. At one point I yelled "He's in the crease!" because once I heard somebody say that at a hockey game. I threw all reason out the window and kinda wanted them to draw blood when the fights broke out. 

Here's a secret. 99% of the time I can't see the puck. It is a stone cold miracle if I actually see it go into the net in real time. I simply wait to hear the horn and throw my arms up in the air as if I knew it all along. The people in my adopted hometown of DC have been waiting for this moment their entire lives. I've been waiting for this moment since maybe last week. Whatever, man. I'll take part in the joy and I will own my status as a an All Star Bandwagoner. C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS!!!


BONUS FAVORITE 

I will never be accused of being a bandwagon fan for our Freedom Varsity baseball team. If you might throw up a prayer for our hard fighting boys who are on their way to the state semi-finals in today, I'd so appreciate it. The Lovely and Talented Mrs. C. and I are packing up the car with our Freedom Itunes list so that we can listen to Beyonce, Aretha, George Michael and any other musician who ever sang a song with the word "freedom" in it and headed down to Richmond to cross our fingers and toes and use all of our jedi mind tricks to help our boys bring the W. As I've mentioned many times over the last few weeks, life has been difficult lately. Lots of bad news and things we can't control keep coming at us. One of things the good Lord has given me specifically to bring me peace is the game of baseball. Win or lose, I will sit in those bleachers today in the sunshine with my best girls and I will watch every last pitch and it will be joy and laughter and a heckuva a lot of fun. Let's play ball, boys. I'm feeling a victory.

Happy Weekend!

Disclosure: The View From Behind Home Plate is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn small fees by linking to amazon.com.

Friday, June 1, 2018

5 Friday Favorites: June 1, 2018




Happy Friday, Friends. 
It's time for my Friday link up with A Little Bit of EverythingGrace and Love, and Momfessionals

On Fridays I share things that made me happy from the week - a photo, a song, a quote, a beauty product, a recipe, a pair of cute shoes, etc. If it's a product, sometimes it's something I actually own and sometimes something I just saw online that gave me a smile. Sometimes it's serious and sometimes it's silly. I suppose I believe that God is in the simple details of life and yes, I can even find Him in a tube of lipstick!

So here are my favorites from this week.


1. Thayer's Witch Hazel Alcohol Free Toner for less than $11

I'm not sure if you're aware that I've been mildly obsessed with skin care products lately. I am willing to throw some money around at times for a product or two, but toner is not one of them. I am not a dermatologist or a scientist, but it seems to me that this is a place where I can save some pennies. There was a time I paid 4 times this much for a bottle of toner less than half this size and to that I say,




I saw this recommended on a Instagram story by Jamie Golden, who not only co-hosts two of my favorite podcasts, The Bible Binge and The PopCast, but who also is a wealth of information when it comes to beauty products. She's also hilarious. You can find lots of fun product information on her Instagram Stories. Thayer's Witch Hazel Toner is offered in many different scents, but I love the Rose Petal. I love the price tag even more. I found it at Target, but it's also at Amazon.

2. A Summer Dress for Less than $25!

As I said, I simply went into to Target because I was out of the toner. THAT'S ALL. I just needed the measly bottle of toner, but then out of no where and against my will, this adorable dress happened. So cute. So summery. So less than 25 American dollars. I noticed that the new Universal Thread line has a ton of great summer pieces for less than $30 each. Why, Target, why???? 

3. Beth Moore on The Twitter


I have to say that The Twitter can bring out the worst in humanity just like any other social media outlet, but it can also be hilarious and a beacon of hope and light all at once if you just so happen to follow the right people. I've done a number of Beth Moore Bible Studies including those on Esther, James, and The Fruit of the Spirit. She is an incredibly gifted Bible teacher. She is really active on Twitter and can be funny and adorable and also can bring the Word like no one else. This was one of my favorite of her tweets this week:

"100 years from now, if Jesus tarries, imagine Satan reminiscing over this era. “Oh yeah, those were the days alright. All I had to do was get them swept up in fear & it did the rest. Led a whole nation by it. And the funniest part? Christians were the biggest fraidy cats of all.”

We have not just caught the world’s fears. We are leading out in them. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be so. We may call ourselves Christians but we cannot call ourselves Jesus followers and be led by fear. They are going polar opposite directions.

Jesus warned us in the Gospels that there would be endless & increasing causes for fear yet over & over He commanded - not suggested, commanded - His own “Do NOT be afraid.” This was meant to set us apart in eras of terror. This was meant to attract people to our fearless Leader.

Fear makes horrible choices then heinous choices. Its daily confession of faith is “God, thou art weak but thine enemy strong.”

Fear fuels hate. It is incapable of loving its neighbor. Fear refuses to change because the devil it knows is not as scary as the devil it doesn’t."

-Beth Moore (the one and only)



4. Asian Glazed Chicken Thighs


www.allrecipes.com

I made these roasted chicken thighs from a recipe I got here. By some miracle of the Lord, I happened to have all of the ingredients in my kitchen - except for Asian (toasted) sesame oil because calm down, I'm not a superhero. I used regular oil and it was really easy to make and turned out fine. I think all of your people will go beserk over this meal. 

1/2 cup rice vinegar
5 Tablespoons honey
3 Tablespoons Asian (toasted) sesame oil (whatevs)
3 Tablespoons Asian chili garlic sauce
3 Tablespoons minced garlic
salt to taste
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (mine had skin and bones)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together all ingredients. Place chicken thighs in large ziploc and pour half of mixture over thighs. Refrigerate for an hour. Heat remaining sauce to a boil over medium heat and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often, to let it thicken. Remove chicken from the bag and discard used marinade. Place chicken thighs on roasting pan and brush with 1/3 of heated sauce. Cook in oven for 30 minutes, basting again after 10 minutes. Let cooked chicken stand for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring marinade back to a boil for 1-2 minutes and serve chicken with hot marinade from saucepan. Then sit back and watch as all of your people decide they love you more than they did yesterday.

5. This Verse

Years ago, I was at a basketball game sitting in the stands next to a woman I didn't know. Something terrible had happened in the news. I don't even remember what it was. We chatted about it and she looked at me and said, "Girl . . . it's the times. It's just the times."

My friend, Nancy and I use that phrase on the regular now to describe seasons when we just can't find any other words to say. These times? They've been kinda rough for my friends and me. May brought us some big change and none of those changes were ones that we welcomed. 

I suppose it's our season of life. We wake up and find that our little world which was moving along just fine has changed abruptly from yesterday. And it seems as the great philosopher Jon Bon Jovi says, "There's a whole lotta leaving going on." 

Whether it's the sudden loss of health when a cancer diagnosis comes or the shocking loss of a parent even when you thought you were prepared, or the bittersweet feeling of loss that comes with a child graduating and moving away, these times force us into change and force me to look desperately for something that is forever true and forever stable - something that will stay. 

Yesterday, I searched and searched for verses to remind me that my God is that truth, that stability and that surefire ever-present help in trouble. There are a lot of them proving that our God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is the same God who listened to our cries in May of 2018 and He is the same one who waits for us today in June. 

Of all of the comforting verses I found, I think Malachi 3:6 is the simplest and the most powerful. I am holding on to it today, putting in my heart and reciting it in my head over and over.

"I am the Lord. I change not." 

Of all of the amazing characteristics He holds this unchanging, ever-present, enduring love of my Savior is perhaps the most important to me today. When we look around and feel loss at every turn, might we find comfort in this. He has not, does not and will not change and He will never, ever leave us. 

Thanks be to God for this indescribable gift.

Happy Weekend, Friends.

Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What's Up Wednesday: May 2018



I'm linking up with Sheaffer Told Me To The Larson Lingo and Mix and Match Mama for What's Up Wednesday today.


What We're Eating This Week

We celebrated all of those who fought for our freedom over the weekend by eating a huge amount of chips, dips, carbs and sugar, as any good American should, of course. Since then, which if you're counting is exactly one full day, I've been trying to eat better. In the last few weeks, I've been eating a lot of avocados. "We" have not, as none of my people will eat them. In fact, I asked my husband to pick a couple up at the grocery store this week and he had to ask someone to help him find them. I'm eating them in salads and in this smoothie, but mainly I'm eating them for breakfast smashed on top of a fried egg and sprinkled with Trader's Joe's Everything but the Bagel Seasoning. PS That photo is so sad. I can't imagine why I haven't been hired to write a cookbook.

What I'm Reminiscing About




Last night Drew and I got to watch our varsity baseball team win a nail-bitter of a play-off game with a walk off in the bottom of the 7th by a kiddo we've watched play since he was five years old. I imagine my incessant chatter about youth and high school sports might get old, but in reality it comes less from my love of a particular game and more from my love of the people these teams have brought into our lives. So, I'm reminiscing today about seasons past where friends became family and my littlest guy ended up having the chance to cheer for and look up to way more than two big brothers.

What I'm Loving


The under eye area of my face is of particular concern right now, so suffice it to say that I'm not loving it. To be honest, there are many, many "particulars" concerning me on my face right now. However, I keep thinking my mascara is running and am realizing that lo and behold those are dark circles, not mascara. *sigh* Anyway, I heard about Tarte Shape Tape Concealer recently and the reviews are crazy good, so I bought it yesterday. Perhaps it's a stretch to say that I am loving it yet, since I've used it exactly once. I suppose I love the idea of it and hope it will meet my very lofty expectations.

What We've Been Up To


Well, it is spring, so we've had lots of baseball and basketball in the last few weeks. After 5:00 pm almost any day of the week, you'll find me at Drew's middle school baseball games, at the high school varsity baseball games of my many non-biological sons, and/or at Kyle's summer league basketball games. I could not be happier to be racing from the field to the gym and back again. I am my best self when I'm in the bleachers using all my jedi mind tricks to affect the outcome of a game. I have come to know that I am made for such a time as the Spring sports season.

What I'm Dreading

I'm not dreading anything. Summer is almost here and I don't have to make many more lunches. What's to dread?
What I'm Working On

I have a devotional on Gideon due to the writing team at my church next week and I'm going to be honest and let you know that I'm going to need to do a little research first. For some reason, my Vacation Bible School education seems to have been void of this story. I think I'll start with googling "WHO IS GIDEON?". Based on my initial search it seems that Gideon was musical?

Friends, let this serve as a reminder to all my readers that I love Jesus and I love the Bible and I love my faith and I certainly love to share it here, but I ain't no Bible Scholar. For me, there is always more to learn.

What I'm Excited About

Joe, my oldest son, who is home from his first year of college is starting an internship this summer with the National Journalism Center which will have him working at a DC radio station on the morning show which runs 5:00 am - 9:00 am. I'm so excited about this opportunity for him, and also I will not be making him breakfast.

What I'm Watching
Add caption

Joe and I started watching Arrested Development earlier this week. I've been told many times over the years that I would like it, but have never seen it.


Steve and I are still trudging through The Americans, but I have decided that I have lost any shred of feeling I ever had for every single character on that show, so Steve might finish that one without me. Dear Elizabeth and Phillip, you gotta give me something. Is there any redeeming quality in either of you? Anything? I think nyet.


What I'm Reading


I received The Royal We over the weekend, so I promptly put down The Brothers K - which it turns out is good, but really, really long - and started it. So far it is just as delightful as I expected. I think I'll finish this one quickly.

What I'm Listening To


I know I mentioned Reckless Love by Cory Asbury a few weeks ago, but I am still pressing repeat on this one over and over. Goodness gracious, I love this song.

What I'm Wearing



Finally, it's warm enough to run outside, so I'm definitely wearing a lot of running shorts and shirts lately. I recently got this Nike top which has a cute split back. I posted a funny story about these crazy running shoes on my Instagram page a couple of weeks ago, and now I might be having some regrets that I didn't buy them. I did buy these. While they are certainly boring by comparison, they are awesome for my 49 year old feet. 


What I'm Doing This Weekend

One kid has an out of town baseball tournament, one kid has an in town basketball tournament and I imagine one kid will be sleeping all weekend trying to recover from having to start his workday at 4:00 am.

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month




School's out, the pools open, someone I love a lot has a big birthday and that same someone and I are taking a weekend trip to Nashville. June is my jam.

What Else Is New




I am the director of a program for Kyle's Kamp, a pediatric cancer organization which raises money for Children's National Medical Center in DC for research and patient care called Dreams Games. High School Sports teams pick one of their home games to dedicate to the cause of pediatric cancer, they raise money, and they host a pediatric cancer patient as a special guest. It is such a joy to watch these games unfold. Certainly, the funds raised are amazing, but the relationships formed by the players, coaches, and patients are the very best part. This season our participating teams raised almost $20,000. And more importantly, kids like Solomon - a 2 year old fighting neuroblastoma - got to forget their daily fight for a bit and become the star of the show.

Bonus Question: What is your favorite Summer Salad?

We do a lot of grilling out and BBQ in the summer and probably at least once a week, I put together this cole slaw salad. There are no precise measurements. I just throw it all together and people lose their minds over it. 

1 bag of coleslaw mix
A bunch of sliced red grapes
A bunch of sliced green onions
A bunch of chopped walnuts 
Bottled Poppyseed dressing

Mix it up.

That's all, Folks! Have a great Wednesday!

Disclosure: The View From Behind Home Plate is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn small fees by linking to amazon.com.

Friday, May 25, 2018

5 Friday Favorites: May 25, 2018





Happy Friday, Friends. 
It's time for my Friday link up with A Little Bit of EverythingGrace and Love, and Momfessionals

Here are some of my favorite things from this week.


1. The Royal We: A Novel



I promise I'm going to stop thinking about the Royal Wedding soon. Like maybe tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month. I know I had heard about the book, The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan a long while ago, but then I heard it mentioned on two different podcasts last week. Here's the synopsis from Amazon:

American Bex Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister Lacey was always the romantic, the one who daydreamed of being a princess. But it's adventure-seeking Bex who goes to Oxford and meets dreamy Nick across the hall - and Bex who finds herself accidentally in love with the heir to the British throne. 

WHAAAT? I'm utterly confused as to why I haven't read a book such as this that was made for a time such as last week. Let's just call that a Major Life Fail. As soon as this arrives in my mailbox, I will put aside all other reading material.

2. Can't Stop, Won't Stop: Royal Wedding Aftermath

If you know me at all, you would have guessed that when Bishop Curry started talking, it took all my willpower not to jump out of my chair, wave my hankie around and shout "Hallelujah". Then I saw the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop interviewed after the wedding together and I've decided there has been no better duo in all the world since Bo and Luke Duke. I absolutely cannot get enough of these two and I want them to start a podcast together. These several minutes are well worth your time.



Also, one more thing about the Royal Wedding. Have you seen this? People on the internet with lots of time on their hands can at times be clear evidence that Satan is real, but other times are straight up DELIGHTFUL.



Wait. Actually, one more thing. I'm serious this time. This is the last thing I'll post about the wedding. Scout's Honor. My friend, Sandy, sent me this.


You're welcome. 

3. Summer Sun Essentials

I don't know if you've heard, but apparently the sun isn't great for you. I can't imagine why my 1980s summers spent monitoring my position on my pool towel every 15 minutes as if I was training to be some sort of Olympic Tanning Champion turned out so poorly, but here we are. Now, I spend an enormous amount of time searching for the Fountain of Youth which has got to be on the shelves at Sephora somewhere. This Mixed Weave Sun Hat from Sole Society might have saved me from this never-ending quest. This would be so cute this summer and should meet all your SPF needs at the baseball park, the lake, or the beach. I'm not sure it can hold as many snacks as Camilla's hat, but it's worth a shot and also it's on sale.




While I was on the Sole Society site I also spotted this beach tote on sale. It's adorable. I generally buy my beach totes at Old Navy because I don't want anything that I spent more than $20 on near sand or water, but this would be cute all summer long. It comes in three patterns and I love them all.



I also saw these cute espadrille flip flops on Sole Society's website on sale and they come in a ton of different colors and patterns.

In full disclosure, I haven't ever purchased anything from Sole Society. I just saw that all of these cute items were on sale and felt it important that you know about them. These are things - along with a photo of a duchess wearing a Subway platter on her head - that I feel compelled to share with you, dear reader. No one knows why and it's best not to overthink it.

4.  Tequila Sunrise Mimosa Recipe


We made these Tequila Sunrise Mimosas (recipe from delish.come) for our Royal Wedding celebration. 

I know. I even said Scout's Honor when I promised not to mention it again. Here's the thing. I never was a Girl Scout. What do you want from me?

These were really good.

Orange wedges, for rim
Sugar, for rimming glass
Tequila
Orange Juice
Champagne
Grenadine

We poured each one individually in order: 1/2 oz. of tequila (recipe called for 1 oz. per drink, but calm down, people. We are not lushes.), then champagne, then orange juice, then a splash of grenadine. We didn't measure out the champagne, oj or grenadine. We just poured until the glass was full. Also, we skipped rimming the glasses with orange wedges and sugar because it was 6:00 AM and I'm just a commoner and didn't have any servants to cut up an orange.

5. A Brief for the Defense
by Jack Gilbert

I wrote about our ridiculously frivolous and yet purely joyful and necessary Royal Wedding party here this week. In the midst of reading tweets and commentaries on the spectacle that was Meghan and Harry's Big Day, I came across this poem. I think it's just beautiful and perfectly resonates with what I was getting at in that post. 
A Brief For The Defense
Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered caf├ęs and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.
 Have a lovely Memorial Day Weekend, Friends!
Disclosure: The View From Behind Home Plate is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn small fees by linking to amazon.com.