#1,011 – Play Ball!

Well, there’s no joy in Mudville this afternoon. You must be a certain age to know what that statement means. It’s a reference to a very old poem that has been popular for many years. Not sure if kids today even hear about it. Here is a copy of the poem, if you’d like to learn about baseball in 1888. I remember the poem from elementary school (No, I wasn’t there in 1888. Disney made a short film about it, which is what is included above). Our boys really played hard today, and lost. What a shame.

With this being their first year in Select ball, it is pretty amazing they made the final four in the tournament at all. They learned a lot of things that will not only make them better players, but better people as well.

They learned to work as a team, not as nine individuals. This lesson continues through their baseball careers, not just this season. Teamwork is important in sports and business. Everyone has an area they’re better in, working together is the best for the team, together, you’re all more powerful. It’s a lesson many adults forget about from time to time. Everyone must give their all to make an impact; otherwise, you may as well give up.

The kids get intimidated; they’re only nine and ten years old. Once intimidated, they lose their confidence, their power, their collective minds. Coaches all worked well on that when it happens, and the boys rallied. It was too late. The after celebration was watermelon for all, and that was it. The season is over. I’m pretty sad about that. Gavin will play football soon, baseball is my favorite.

It’s a little quiet here on this hot day in the Heartland. I know tomorrow will be a rest up day, perhaps Tuesday will be, too. After early call three days for the tournament, sitting in fold up lawn chairs, and roller coaster scoring/hitting/running/errors, elation and bummers, we’re tired. So blessed to have these kids. We’re blessed beyond anything we could have imagined. Always remember with gratitude. It puts all things into perspective.

Have a wonderful evening. Smile about the day. Be grateful for the good; keep the bad in perspective. See you tomorrow!

Fabulous (Baseball) Friday!

Woo Hoo! Our 9U boys won both of their games today! The first game at 8 a.m. was a perfect setting, we faced the sun but it wasn’t too bad at all. The early hour was so nice, cooler than it would have been at noon. For the noon game, we were able to sit in the shade under some nice trees, and there was a cooling breeze. Perfect. The boys were so hot, but the coaches and umps were good about time outs for water breaks. Everyone was healthy and happy at the end, since they won both games. Tomorrow, they play at 1:30 p.m., so it’ll be hotter. We’ll hydrate accordingly, and be ready for the day.

And for right now, we’re so grateful we replaced our air conditioning unit a couple of years ago. The unit was shot, and the furnace had rust in it. The humidifier somehow leaked and the water dripped into the inside of the unit. They just don’t make them like they used to. I think in my lifetime, I’ve put at least five furnace/ac units into houses. The first one converted from an old oil furnace to a gas furnace. The a/c followed the next summer I think. Long time ago!

Next week, I’m digging back into the children’s book and making changes. I have some great suggestions from both a friend in the business and my illustrator Jordan. It should take me a week to make the decisions what to cut out, what to change, and better placement of the illustrations. I didn’t realize I shouldn’t alter the photos by enlarging or shrinking. Now I know. I’m so glad to be this far along. I didn’t make my first deadline, Gavin’s birthday on June 30. I will make the next one.

It’s been a great day. I hope yours was too. Right now, I’ve a headache from the heat. Onto hydration, Tylenol, and rest. Have a great evening. It’s so nice to be home, in the cooled air, with the Babe and Pups. See you tomorrow!

Be Like Baseball.

And here we are, with another brand new, shiny month unfolding before us. It’s nearly blank on the calendar so far, but there are many, many things to handle.

We didn’t make the deadline to publish “Roxie! WHAT Are You Doing?” I am sharing with some folks early this month to get feedback before submitting the final copy for a couple of people to read. Then, we’ll proceed. This is exciting and a little nerve-wracking at the same time.

I started reading “Where the Crawdads Sing.” So far, I’m feeling so sorry for the little girl. There are still back-woods people, very poor and deprived people, who survive in horrible conditions and situations. I debated about reading it. After reading “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” I felt compelled to read another recent fiction book. It will help me catch up on my Goodreads goal of reading 24 books this year. So far, I’ve only finished 7. I increased my goal over last year just to make myself read and finish more books. Why? Aren’t I supposed to be writing, not reading?

Yes and no. Someone wiser than me has said to write well, you need to read. A lot. I readily accept that challenge. It’s amazing how your perspective changes when you read to learn different methods of character development, plot twists, and tying up all loose ends by the end. The Evelyn Hugo book was a perfect example of all of the above. I sort of balked at reading it. I often don’t like books others have flocked to read (insert the 50 Shades series – horrible writing, in my humble opinion). Yet the author laughed all the way to her bank. I’m not the only person who couldn’t see the fascination in it. And no, it’s not because I’m prudish, because I’m far from it.

Last night’s ball game was in Waverly, Nebraska. It’s about 20 minutes from Gretna, so it was not a long drive. After playing in the more modern facilities in Omaha and Papillion, the first thing I noticed was we were definitely in an very industrial area. There were grain storage silos in sight, and the photo in today’s header is what the field signs looked like. At first, I felt bad for the kids who played there and only had that kind of facility. I’m not condemning small town America. I hoped our boys appreciate the wonderful, brand new facilities they have available to them.

And when it became time to throw the first pitch, it mattered not the condition of the signage, the location, the view, everything that wasn’t what we were used to. The game is all that mattered. And that is what I love about baseball. No matter where, how the place looks, what kind of equipment the kids have, or even if the team has uniforms or not. All that matters is the glorious game of baseball. Period.

Being Gavin’s 10th birthday, I prayed silently that he had a good game, not a disappointing one. He played very well, hit a couple doubles, and played various positions. It was a whopping 95 degrees; luckily, the sun was to our backs. It was worth every drop of sweat. He ran over to where we were sitting with his mom and sister, and said, “This is the best birthday ever!” I’m so glad he was happy, full of energy (almost too full!), and ready to celebrate him. Those years have gone way too fast. I pray we can see the next ten years with all the grandkids, and see what they’re all achieving. Blessed beyond our wildest dreams.

Our grandson Joell and his family are headed to Spain, on a trip with his family for school. He attends a Spanish immersion program, and it’s amazing even with his exposure to Spanish with his mom and her family, how he can learn both English and Spanish at the same time. I’ve already heard it was easier when kids are young. I’m a believer to see it in action. I hope he sees all the sights I’ve always heard about.

No matter what your circumstances, your surroundings, your trials and tribulations, be like baseball. Once your days begin, treat them like the ump just said, “Play ball!” Focus on positivity, loving whatever you’re doing, and keep focused on the whole length of the day/game. You don’t lose with one mistake in a day. It takes all nine innings to see how the day/game will end. One ball at a time. One hit at a time. One hour at a time. You can make it happen. Let’s all go make it a great day, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Agreements and Baseball.

No, I’m not talking about those highly inflated contracts in MLB. I’m talking about applying Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements to the game of baseball, down to the lowest level of T-Ball. It’s tournament time in our select baseball world and the team had a pulverizing loss yesterday. Three innings. The opposing team was exceptionally good for being in the 9U (Nine & up) category. Many were star players on their own. They stole every base they could, running up the score. Nothing makes a first year playing together team lose their will to live than running up the score on them when they’re struggling.

The only talk there was among them was how good the other team was. They were good, and mentally, our boys were defeated before the first pitch went out. I just want to share this as the coaches do every game, but with different words.

Tell yourself the truth about you. You are a good player and not doing anything wrong. Sometimes, others teams will beat us. You are not at fault. They’re just better. Let’s work harder so we’re better.

Don’t Take Anything Personally. It’s not your fault. All of us make mistakes. That’s how we learn. Let’s work to learn more.

Don’t Make Assumptions. Just because they’re a top ranked team doesn’t mean we’re going to lose. We need to work together and be our best today.

Always Do Your Best. Put your game face on every game. Keep your heads up. Be confident. Don’t give up until the game’s over. There’s always a chance if you all do your best. Keep your heads and shoulder up. That’s a winner’s posture.

Play Ball!

All of this takes practice, both for body and mind. It’s nothing that happens overnight. And it’s not for just 9U Select Baseball teams. It’s for all of us. For life. Share as you see fit.

How I wish I could have been stronger willed as a kid. The bullies would not have stood a chance. During my entire 7th grade, no one would speak to me. A nun confronted me about the older girls in choir. She wasn’t there one day and the 8th graders (I was in 6th) were talking. Monsignor Aughney told her about it, she picked me to ask if they were talking.

At that time in my life, I would have confessed to kidnapping the Lindbergh baby when confronted by an adult in power. I wasn’t going to lie to a nun, not with the threat of sin held over my head. I violated the kid code, I ratted them out. When we returned to school, there was a lot of giggling at me, making fun of me. One day, I remember specifically, a boy who later became friends with me in high school, walked after me while barking like a dog. Let’s just say, it was not a compliment.

My face burned. The tears blurred my eyes. I kept walking. He finally quit. I kept walking, all the way home. No wonder I used to stop at the cookie jar upon arriving at home. Sugar was the thing that made me feel better. Well, sugar and listening to music. I’d hide in my room, playing music, (not while doing homework), eat Mom’s Toll House Cookies like my life depended on it, and feel better. 7th grade was pure torture. But I lived. Deeply wounded, but I lived.

Magically, I kept being myself. When 8th grade came around, the classmates all forgot about the narc among them. They all told me, “You’ve changed.” No, I hadn’t. They had. My self talk wasn’t good back then. Fat, ugly, dumb, can’t draw, you name it, I hated it about myself. Teach your kids to be kind and gentle to themselves.

This doesn’t mean sinful pride and boasting. Be yourself. Keep it in you. It works better. You get it. We’ve a few things to do before the noon and the 2 p.m. game. Hydrating is one of them! You do the same if you’re in Nebraska, it’s sweltering already. But there’s nowhere I’d rather be than watching kids play baseball. I love them all! Have a great day, and see you tomorrow! GO STORM CHASERS!

Monday, Monday

There are less than three hours left in this day. It’s late to start a blog, but I can tell you I needed to. This is one happy grandma. Tonight was grandson Gavin’s first baseball game. He did great, and they won! He is on a team named Junior Storm Chasers, named after the Omaha Storm Chasers.

Gavin started wearing glasses this year for his farsightedness. It has made a difference with his practice at bats. He didn’t hit well tonight, and it is just the first game. It will come. He is doing better at practice. And he has the advantage of living with the coach! His dad is the coach this year. TJ was a talented baseball player in high school and college. He is patient with the boys. He encourages them well. And he gets them to shake off bad luck or plays. What a great introduction for them to working for a coach.

While watching and listening to TJ, I couldn’t help but think how proud his dad would be of his son and grandson. Randy passed way too soon, the day before Gavin’s birthday several years ago. This boy’s heart fractured. We feel his absence at every gathering. He has a ring-side seat to watch his son coach and grandson play. He’s proudly telling everyone in heaven, “Those are my boys!”

As I fall asleep tonight, I’m grateful for my grandson, his parents, the Babe, and for the game of baseball. It is still the great American pass time. I’m grateful for the fresh air, the slight breeze that turned chilly later in the game, the little boys learning the game of their heroes. I’m also grateful for the great baseball movies, “The Natural,” “Bull Durham,” (not suitable for kids), and “Field of Dreams.” The stories of Shoeless Joe Jackson, Babe Ruth, and all the rest of the best legends around.

I hope you have pleasant dreams. Tomorrow is tax day. I cannot put it off any longer. See you tomorrow!

Aww, Babe; You Did It Again!

Happy Birthday to ME! The Babe isn’t much for words, but he always slams it out of the park with the cards he selects for me. What a thoughtful guy. We don’t do gifts, we figure we’ll just attend things we decide upon. This morning, I signed up for a Painting of the Month Club for $20 per month. Cancel at anytime. They’re the kind of paintings you might see at a Sip and Paint session. Our VFW Auxiliary friends did that several times in the past ten years, and it was a lot of fun. I have a lot of supplies, so I’ll only need some canvas. Why not? It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and the rest of my life is going to be about those very things. I’m so blessed to be able to do them. Painting, here I come!

And back to the card. It is celebrating the “woman that you are.” How sweet. I know he doesn’t want me to get over-extended, since I tend to do that, but he also knows I’m a giver, helper, coordinator, and compassionate person. This last year of coordinating donations for Moving Veterans Forward Nebraska has been so fulfilling. The generosity of our friends and members at the VFW Post 2503 and Auxiliary is overwhelming. These men and women know they could be homeless, have addictions, and and suffer PTSD. Many have PTSD. We work hard to make a safe place for them to be. For them to help other veterans. And be involved in our community. “There But By The Grace of God Go I.”

When this wonderful man, the Babe, asked me to marry him on Christmas Eve, 1997, I told him it would be an honor to be his wife. It still is, more so every day. I’m grateful all over the place. So our gift to us this year is go see Billy McGuigan perform (frequently) this summer. We have the good seats for the concert with the Omaha Symphony. It’s going to be awesome. Yes, it was a lot of money. Last time we saw him with the Symphony, we sat in the very last row indoors at the Holland Center. The acoustics were phenomenal, and the music played very well together. It reminded me of the old days, when you’d have an orchestra recording with music, like Sinatra, TransSiberian Orchestra, Rock and Roll, the Beach Boys, and the like. Go, people. Treat yourselves to the time of your life. Kick the summer off right. And catch all his other productions as well. You will be as hooked as the good people of Omaha are.

As I continue this special day, I’m grateful for friends and family, who make being on this planet more fun than I should be having. I’ve enjoyed getting to know all my adult cousins the past ten years. When they were all little “devils” I was the oldest girl, so I had to watch them. Ugh! The Bobell cousins grew up ok. I love you all.

The Jewell cousins are fabulous people in their own right. I never baby sat them, so all was good. Their fathers all had an impish grin and played pranks, and many of them do that very thing now. The impish grin is inherited by all the boys. I love seeing it. I love you all, too.

Our five kids make a great blended family. Five kids in four different cities is tough, we could never collect them all together at the same time. We enjoy visiting them all, even if it’s just in the Omaha area. They were mostly grown when we got married. I’d highly suggest that for people marrying later in life. We would have had a very full house if we’d met when the kids were young. Love all of you and your beautiful children, too.

There are some stock photos above, some actual photos. They’re all photos of what I look forward to doing this year, along with imags of what I’ve loved most in life so far: Babies, Music, America, Grandkids, Doing over Doubting (took me awhie!), My Doctors, who saved me from becoming paralyzed, Baseball, Ice Cream, celebrating (with a cherry on top!), writing, reading, trying out what comes next. I love what I’ve been through because it’s made me who I am. And I’m eager for all the fun we’re about to have publishing my book in a few months. It will be a real trip to go to the library or book store and see OUR BOOK on the shelf. Cartney will get a kick out of it, too.

This list is not complete yet, it is still growing. I am on a mission to make the rest of my life count for something. I want to make a difference, somehow. Join me along the way. We’re going to have a fun year. Thanks for being here, and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Be Safe. Have some ice cream with me today.