Sometimes . . .

I couldn’t tell you what I love more; watching Gavin play baseball, or watching his dad, TJ coach his team. It would be like trying to choose my favorite child. The team played very well last night; their first game of a tournament weekend. TJ was not only coach, but head cheerleader, encouraging each kid and their unique talents; Chief Medic, tending to head bumps, re-injuring an elbow; and helping a little guy stop his nose bleed so he could continue pitching; and equipment manager, gathering it all up after the game so he’s ready for the 10 a.m. game today. That man can do it all!

You can tell the boys look up to their coach. They are learning not only how to pitch, field, bat, and the rules of the game, they are learning how to be young men. They are learning to concentrate on this game, the one right now, not dwelling on yesterday’s mistakes. Their coach has a different approach, he appears firm but fair, plays everyone, and corrects their form as needed. Before the game last night, he told them, “Just play better than you did Tuesday.” Tuesday night was a terribly off night for everyone, all at once. They did! Crossing my fingers on today.

I’m excited to go this afternoon to my class about using my new sewing machine. I’m not only learning about something new, I’m opening another door towards creativity. Hoping to get back to making things to wear (in my spare time.)

I look forward to this day, and learning. The Babe just texted. Gavin’s game is on, with a 15 minute rain delay. I hope he has a great game. He’s learning about the strategy of resting his arm when he’s the pitcher. Dad calculates carefully how much Gavin can pitch, and he plays other positions in between. He’s great at first base, catcher, but seems a little bored at second, the outfield, and third. You can just see the improvement since the first game, and that is because the boys are learning, and growing as players, under the guidance of their coach. So proud of him. Our family is so blessed.

Time to get in front of the new sewing machine. May you all have a wonderful Saturday. We’re planning to. See you tomorrow!

December 26. Is It Over?

If you view it as only pertaining to gifts, what you got, and what you didn’t get, it’s over. And that’s sad. If you view it as the joy of sharing meals and time with your people, be it bio family, friend family, or a mix of both, it is just beginning. And that’s wonderful.

Why? Because you get it. You understand the importance of building bonds, friendships, and what it takes to maintain them. You get a bigger kick out of giving rather than receiving. You understand sometimes the gift of time is the most important and appreciated in the life of many. You stay later than you plan because you know telling stories is important to some folks who have had drastic changes in life and health in the past year. Ah, the stories. Great from an expert storyteller. I love to listen, because some of them, no matter how many times you hear them, a new twist or turn can be added and there you go; it’s even funnier than before.

The Babe and I, along with our daughter Tracy, TJ, Addison, Gavin, and cousin Beth, spent another beautiful Christmas afternoon at the lake home of Tracy’s Uncle Lou. Lou is the person who brought the Babe to Omaha to work at his company. He’s known him for over 40 years. Through good times and bad. Through their mutual sicknesses and health. And now, as they’re both retired guys who manufactured a *(^$-load of block, brick during those years, and had tons of adventures together. There are stories to be told and lies to be made up. A bromance before anyone was concerned about such things. Two good men who are best of friends and brothers. It’s a joy to share. One time, I talked to Lou regarding a hospitalization and procedure the Babe was having. He said, “I’ll just stay home and pray. Remember, I’ve loved him longer than you have.” Truer words were never spoken.

My header photo today is of our friend, our Christmas Day host with the most, if you leave his home hungry or thirsty it’s your own doggoned fault, Louie! We love you and are grateful to share another Christmas together. Thank you, Lou, for your generosity, your stories, and most of all, your friendship. Let’s have a great 2022, with more visits and more stories. Let’s enjoy! And I believe we probably all need a power nap before the KC Chiefs play football today.

Folks, if you have a Louie in your life, make sure you make time for them soon and often. We all need to make priorities for what is important, and what is more a priority than lifelong friendship? Be safe out there today if you’re traveling or out exchanging gifts. This is a look at mine, I opened those Amazon boxes on Christmas Day and gosh, I’m glad I bought them. More reading and learning for 2022! But I won the book in the middle, “Venus the Monk,” by Cory Swanson. Thanks, Cory! I appreciate winning!

I appreciate you reading today, we are pre-planning our projects for next year, and it’s going to be awesome. Thank you for sticking with me. We’re so close to having some finished books to read. See you tomorrow!

Mom’s Day; A Day for Nurturers

This greeting goes not only to Mother’s, but also to single moms, single dads, grandparents, and anyone who has an influence on children that is positive. It could even be a teacher. Many, many kids have no one to look to for nurturing and guidance. Yes, we have to be careful in this day and age, but I believe you all know what I mean.

All three of Mom’s sisters nurtured me in different ways. Mom was the oldest, and in an alcoholic family, she took the lead and took care of everyone. She still plays that role. Every sister of hers shared insights with me about growing up during the era they did. They gave me an extraordinary gift, I can forgive her for not knowing what I needed as a kid. The era was “tough love” before it was ever invented, and I have to say, it didn’t motivate me. It did her, though. That’s just how she is. I’m not that way. Many thanks to all my aunts for being so good to me. I miss you all.

I think that has caused a lot of disagreements between us. It’s not her fault. And it’s not mine. We are simply like water and oil. Just don’t mix well. Don’t get me wrong. I love her and will always help her. She has helped me out of some tough situations by just being there. Always being available during an emergency; my son drowning, my other son’s ruptured appendix, and my daughter cracking her head open against doorframe woodwork while her dad was at Church. We’ve talked about life in many an ER waiting room. Thanks, Mom, for always being there.

Our daughter Tracy and daughter in law Monica; You ROCK! Thank you for the love you give so freely to our family and everyone around you both. You are different personalities, and you both love fiercely. I’m so happy we have the family we do!

To the women, like my daughter, who live over 500 miles away from their mom’s, and they dig in and decide they can do this mom thing alone, with no help from their own mothers. I could help you, but I’m not one to put myself into a situation where I’m not invited. You have always been fiercely independent; after all, I learned that from YOU; of course you don’t want help. I get it.

To my sons Frank and Nick, who babysat for their friend’s babies, and haven’t flinched at changing dirty diapers. I’m proud of the men you’ve become. You would have been great, nurturing Dads. You’ve given Sam, Joe, and Malachi someone to look up to. I’m so proud of you. I love being your Mom. And Becky’s, too.

To the men, who like my son-in-law TJ, have made ponytails, pigtails, and braids with their giant hands on a little girl’s head, who have performed on stage at countless Dad’s Dances at recitals, (you have a great extension there, TJ!), and who have worked extra so the children can have everything they need. You are also nurturers. TJ, I love you like my own son!

To the grandparents raising kids, you have a hard job. You’ve done it before, and are pitching in, perhaps doing it all. You are so needed, and I’m sure you’re tired, too. May God keep you strong and on your mark. May God give you grace when you need it. Thank you for what you’re doing.

To the teachers who use their own money to buy warm hats, mittens, and scarves for kids in need. You are doing much more than teaching at school; you are making a difference in their souls. Thank you and know you positively affect lives.

I salute all of you nurturers out there. And all Mom’s. It’s a tough job, and it can break your heart. And when your broken heart heals, it comes back twice as large, and you give more love away. That’s what we were made for, all of us. Just keep nurturing and loving. The world will become the place it needs to become. Thank you for reading today. Be Kind. Be Safe out there. Be the Love You Needed. I’ll see you tomorrow.