Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Sunday, July 26, 2015


For everyone that reads my stuff, you know that Lifechurch's "At the Movies" is my favorite series (hands down) of the year. 

This week was....well.......ridiculous.

I say that my life has been in two parts. 

Before Laynie.


After Laynie. 

Before Laynie, I wasn't walking on God's path.  I was meandering through life, in a hurry, don't mess with me, I want to make money, I need to get to the next day, stay out of my way....kind of life. 

Then Laynie Came. 

And my world, as I knew it, changed. 

Today's message was about fleeting time.   And how quickly life passes by, when you don't even know what happened. 

When Laynie was born, I was forced to live in the "here and now".  We weren't allowed the luxury to "project" about her life.  We didn't dream of birthdays, of crawling, of walking, kindergarten.  We didn't have that chance to dream with her. 

We lived out, full out, in the moment....every. Single. Day.

She was a tiny gift from God, showing us how to grasp the beauty of the moment.  And boy, did we learn. 

I find myself, these days, slipping back into old patterns.  I find myself worrying about having enough money, figuring out Hallie's college options, where should she go?,  worrying about having a kindergartener (Today at church, when I picked him up from his class, his buddy piped up, "Hey is that your grandma?"  Zachary sheepishly looked at me.  I stopped by the drugstore and bought some color for my hair)......  Just things like that. 

I compound it all, worrying about crap that just doesn't matter, and miss the joy of the day.  In the movie we talked about today, "About Time"..... he gets the privilege of re-living days.  In one scene, that TRULY spoke to showed him rushing through his day, just antagonized by EVERYTHING...... and when he re-lived it, (knowing the outcome of the day)....he REALLY truly, lived in the moment, and appreciated every small thing of the day. 

That hit me right in the gut.  I rush.  I yell at cars in traffic.  I drive 3 kids to 3 different schools Every. Single. day.   While I am driving, I am going through my head, all the half a million things I have to do that day.  I don't talk to them, I hardly breathe, because all I can think of is how to earn a living to keep our lives moving.  And how to be both a mom AND a dad AND a provider for all my children. 

I miss. Everything.  I lay in bed at night and vow to do the next day different, and do I?   No. 

Hallie will be leaving my home and going to college in 24 months.  If she picks West Point Academy (which is courting her hard), I will see her twice a year for a couple of days.  For the next 3-4 years of her life.  Our time is fleeting. 
I spent the weekend at Women of Faith, and listened to incredible women I have watched and enjoyed over the years (They've been at it 20 years and I've seen them 15 years of the 20), and heard them say their farewells.  They have finished their Women of Faith race (many of them almost 80) and are handing the baton over to Jen Hatmaker and friends.  End of an era.

I live life so fast, if I don't write it down, I forget it.  I know I am living the life God gave me, but I feel so burdened some days, and I don't want to live like that.

I guess all I'm trying to say is, wherever you are in your life...... Slow Down, REALLY slow down and appreciate everything you are handed, on a deeper level. 

This is your only Sunday, July 26, 2015 you will ever have.

Embrace it, and really, really LIVE.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Five Years ..... Running and running and Running

When Lacey had her ultrasound and found out about Laynie, our lives shifted in ways that are inexplicable.  Whereas most people would have given up, and took the "easy" path, Lacey didn't waver from the task set before her.

And the BLESSINGS we would have missed.  And the LESSONS we would have not experienced.  And the LOVE we were IMMERSED in.

It was a tiny gift of time that I would never change.  I felt more joy, more pain, more love, more sadness, more grace, more acceptance than I have ever felt in my life.  Without Laynie, none of that would have been possible.
When life hands you something hard, don't back down from it, face it head on......God HAS YOUR PLAN, and it's going to work out.  It sure doesn't seem like it, when you are in the middle of your storm, but please trust this old woman when I tell you.....God's got your back, and JOY WILL COME IN THE MORNING.

I'm overwhelmed everyday by the amount of people that were touched by our tiny gift's story.  And how she impacted so many lives.  I'm honored and humbled to have played a part in that, by discovering my writing and feeling led to share her story.  What if we had kept quiet?  and not shared her lessons?  Who would that have impacted?  How different everything would be!

Whatever challenge you are facing, do NOT lose HOPE.  You've always heard the old saying, "God brought you to it, He will lead you THROUGH it."


We saw it...One day at a time, one miracle at a time....over and over and over for 898 miraculous days. 

And now we have her little brother here.  And get to experience miracles and joy through his precious eyes.  Not too many little boys have big sisters in heaven to watch over them, and 5 year old vietnamese uncles on earth to play with.

This one does.....and a big ole crazy family to love him and cherish him.  

Be sure and wear purple July 10.....and let the HOPE of Laynie spread over all of your lives.  

Love and peace to all....


Friday, July 3, 2015

Meet the Team

Every year I write a blog about Hal's teammates and share some stuff about each of them.  This year was a blast.

I made a bunch of new "mom" friends, and the girls....well, they were spectacularlish.

Before nationals, we took to Cocoa Beach and while there were those of us loathe to go into shark infested, flesh eating water (cough, me)...these girls jumped right in.  They kidded Hallie for her "Grandma" swimsuit, but they really are great friends.  (We are missing Jordan and Sarah in this picture....later flights)

Malia is from Edmond Memorial.  She is a middle blocker and just a wizard in shoes.  I watched her make so many points serving, she would bring us back from the point of no return, over and over.   She is quick on the block and has a mean slide.  Her mom looks like a movie star, and her dad is one of the nicest guys I have ever met.  She has an older brother who is a BEAST, and has a full ride scholarship to play football in Texas.  She has a baby brother who is in my "Poptart mom" club, and hangs with me at games. They also have the hardest last name in the universe to pronounce, but it's fun listening to everyone try.   Love this 6 foot tall girl and her fam.

Jordan is from Edmond North.  This powerhouse may be a shorty, but she is deadly.  Her serve can knock people over, and when she attacks from the back row, ain't NOBODY going to be able to return it.  ESPN raved over her defensive ability, too. She is HILARIOUS, and can laugh at herself and is a self proclaimed "Creeper" on all things internet.  Her mom and dad are seriously the sweetest people.  And she has a little sister, that is also, in my "Poptart mom" club.  I had my kids with me at one of the tournaments, and this particular tournament had a fun kids area that younger sibs could hang in while the LONG day progresses.  There was no way I could afford it, and this sweet family bought both the boys weekend passes.  Precious gifts...that's what the Kramers are.

Ryan is from Norman, tho she goes to the "other" Norman HS.  She is our BEAST, standing at 6'3".  She is one blocking machine.  I think I see sweat gather on the brows of the girls that she stands in front of at the net.  It is a wonderful thing.  Nice side note....her cousin from Texas answered my ad for babysitters at OU, and kept the lovelies for months before we realized they were related.  I adore her mom, and her dad takes care of most of Norman's fur babies (Norman's best vet).  Her little bro is Hallie's "Bae" and also the president of my "Poptart Mom" club.   We took cover in their home during the tornado season, waiting out the incoming storm, knowing we could take cover in their storm shelter in an instant, if need's good to have the Emmert's in your corner. 

Ahhhh, Ericka, from Edmond Santa Fe HS.   I've known this sweet face for a couple of years now.  She and Hal tried their hand at sand volleyball together, and came out of it good friends.  She is our setter, and starts us off serving...because Whoa....this kid can serve.  And set....And hit.   She played the Indianapolis tournament with a burst appendix.  Yeah, you heard me.  She's a warrior.  Her parentals are two of my dear friends, and their love for my vietnamese children....I'm hard pressed to find anyone out there that loves them more than the Scholls.   I tried to keep her mom in the loop at nationals, (her not being able to go) by literally play by playing the games in message form.  I'd be absent for a minute and I'd get a text..... "Well????????"   It's ok.....she'd do it for me. 

Meet Sarah...our outside hitter from Tulsa.  Hal met Sarah when they played on the same High Performance team last year.  The number one thing that is the coolest about Sarah (outside of her great hair), is her lack of ego.  She has no idea how cool she is.  She is a stinking beast at outside, blocker, cheerleader......and you should hear her play the piano.  I mean...I play the piano, and not much impresses me.   This kid knocked my socks off.  And she can sing, and rap.....ok, the rapping is more funny than anything.  Her mom is so quiet, but one of the kindest people I have ever met, and her dad is SO TALL, and loves Hallie.  He would always come up to me after every game and proceed to talk about individual plays that she did well.  I'm like, "I think we won" and he's "That one block on the push to the outside....." and seriously I'm like...."We won".  You see what I'm saying?  And her gorgeous siblings.  Whoa.  The girls would play better when her older brothers were there.  They brought a gorgeous "energy" factor to our girls play. Glad these girls got to play on the same team again.  They are solid gold together. 

Next we have Kassidy, she plays at Edmond Santa Fe, also.   She is the other right side hitter (shares the position with Hal).  This girl can H.I.T.  I think she may have broken noses this year.  She is also a GIANT goofball.  Smart as a whip, on the drive from Indy, Hallie had her and Ryan answering all her homework questions.  It's nice to have smart friends.  She stands over 6 foot tall also.  Her mom saved my life in Indy, when my neck and back got so stoved up, I was a vertigo'd dizzy mess.  Her mom is maybe 5'2 and 100 pounds, and she crawled all over my back and neck and popped and massaged and fixed me right up.  She is a chiropractic genius.  Her dad is the only person on the team I haven't bonded with.  I think I'm intimidated by his hair.  It is so much better than mine will ever be.  But her grandpa? and grandma?  We are pals.  There was NO ONE I liked sitting next to in a game, better than her grandpa, Jim.  He calls it like he sees it, and that is my kind of announcer.  Crazy excited to see where this kid's talent will take her.  I hear she swings a mean golf club too.

This beauty queen is Kadie Grace.  She is the setter for Hal's rotation, and that little tiny body can dish a serve out like nobody's business.  She is model gorgeous, and is so kind and so goofy to her teammates, and she keeps them smiling and having fun, and that takes a lot to make that work, when you are in intense game modes.  Her dad is the assistant coach, and I think he only broke about 4-5 pair of glasses this year, twisting and throwing them to the floor.  He challenged Hallie as hard, if not harder, than anyone has to this point in her short volleyball career, and believes in her without question.  Her mama....well, you have to get your model looks from someone, and since they clearly didn't come from her dad...(lol)...her mom is a H.O.T.T.I.E.   We are kindred spirits in that their family adopted two little boys also, and we are in this adult children/raising babies thing together.  The Dewey's are a class act.  That's for sure.

Don't be fooled by this girl's tiny size.  She packs an incredible ability to dig up any kill shot from the opponent, she has pulled some of the hardest hits up off the floor I have ever seen and put it right in the setter's hands.  She exudes a calm that far exceeds her years, and she is one of the sweetest girls in the world.  Edmond North HS, Callie (in keeping with our -llie names on our team) is our Libero.  You can pronounce that anyway you wish.  She gets the pleasure of wearing a different color top than the other girls, and run in and out of the game, helping on that back row like a boss.  Her parents share the same name too, (terry and teri) and so it's easy for us to keep their names straight.  We mightily adore this sweet family.

This sweet blondie joined our team when Ericka decided to let her appendix explode in Indy.  Katlyn played for another team and was thrilled to move up and play with the giant girls.  LOL.  She did an outstanding job for stepping in and keeping her calm, playing in much more tense game situations than she was used to, and she impressed all of us with her point on serve, and great passing.  Her mom and dad are so sweet, and opened their beautiful home to us, when we were in Tulsa for regionals, and as usual, I always stick my foot in my mouth...when walking in their gorgeous pad, I offered, "I would have 25 foster kids living with me in a house this big."   Sigh.  I really should be kept at home at all times.

And last, but certainly, not least, is Alli. (Edmond Memorial)  (Hallie, Alli, Callie...come ON!) She is the University of Tulsa commit (ok, I had to throw that in, because on ESPN, that's ALL the announcer kept saying over and over) Jumps practically OVER the net when she hits the ball SO hard to the ground that it practically cracks in two.  She is a superduperstar.   She is also traveling to China this summer on a mission trip, and what I love most about her (other than her Chacos tan) is her heart for others.  She is a calm, loving kid and boy, I dig her.  Her dad bribes Hal to smash other teams in the face when playing, (we are really nice like that), and her mom shares my sarcastic view of the world, and I LOVE hanging out with her at games, and just rolling on the floor at her sharp wit.

And I guess I'd be remiss in not mentioning the guy in all the pictures, Coach Will Ethridge.  The head coach at Santa Fe HS, and father of 3 girls of his own, nothing these weirdos did even fazed him.  I could always tell when the tenseness of the game was getting to would start with a forehead rub, a chin rub, and then escalate to the hat being whipped off and the top of the head rubbed, followed by the hat being mashed back on his head.  If you saw all three (the forehead rub, the chin rub, the head rub AND the hat mashed back on the head), you would know a TIMEOUT was coming, and Holy Moses.  Watch out.   Ok, not really.   Cough.   He's a great coach, he led these girls to the national championship.  Now that's saying something.  

It's going to be tough playing these girls across the net, when school ball starts up.  Thankfully, school ball only lasts 3 months, and Club lasts forever.  (Only in the $ sense)  It's been so much fun traveling, and hanging out with this chicas and their families these last 7 months.  They are an amazing power to be reckoned with together, and I pray that next year club's season is just as fun!

Here is the link for the ESPN National Championship game.

It's a gut wrencher, especially that third stupid game.  :)

But my most FAVORITE part, was Hal's realization on Sunday (after everything was over)...

"Mom, we were all soooooo bummed we lost regionals, but if we hadn't lost, we wouldn't have come to Florida, and we wouldn't have made it to the ESPN center and got to experience all of that.  And I wouldn't have been in Florida with Rachel to get a bid to the beach Junior Olympics in California(in 3 weeks).   I guess, sometimes when things don't go your way, you just need to know that it's for a reason, and something better is coming."

From the mouths of teens.......Priceless.

Because Life is so much better with friends.