Archive for the ‘Take me out to the ball game’ Category
I realize the true Impossible Dream season belongs to the 1967 Red Sox.
I realize that the greatest rivalry in baseball belongs to the Yankees and Red Sox.
I realize that the longest World Series drought belongs to the Chicago Cubs, who have been waiting 102 years – and counting – since their last series victory, and 55 years since they last won the pennant.
But last night capped off an Impossible Dream season for our Texas Rangers, whose combined post-season misery and acrimonious trade deals with the Yankees has created an intense rivalry…and whose franchise held the dubious distinction of being the longest-running current franchise without a World Series appearance in their history (think NEVER, in nearly 50 years of existence).
So say what you want, but I’m pretty sure there were very few in the Metroplex who would have predicted this:
I’m fairly confident that going into Spring Training – or coming out of it, for that matter – not many believed we would be seeing this:
And I think it’s fairly safe to say that when the Rangers’ began their “It’s Time” ad campaign, most fans probably smiled cynically, nodded their heads knowingly, expecting the usual post-All Star slump and end-of-season heartbreak.Â But what we got last night was this:
Last night, in a glorious performance by Colby Lewis, the Rangers beat the Yankees to win the AL pennant.Â And, for the first time in Rangers history, we got ourselves a party at the Ballpark in Arlington!
And now, believe it or not, it’s time for this:
Let’s go, Rangers!!
I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating now:Â It’s time.
Sure, it’s time for the Rangers to finish what they’ve started in this amazing post-season run.Â But there’s a personal side to this, too.Â And for me, it’s time.
Time to deepen friendships.Â To renew bonds with those I don’t have the opportunity to see except maybe once a week on Sundays, or say a quick hello to as we pass by in the church hallways.Â To connect with the women who will be in my discussion group.Â To find new reasons to love and enjoy the women I will be sharing a cabin with.
Time to have fun.Â To laugh so hard my sides ache and I can barely breathe.Â To talk late into the night and giggle over life’s misadventures and create memories and inside jokes that will make me smile long beyond the next 48 hours.Â To play games and make crafts and relax by the lake and dance with reckless abandon and play beach volleyball.Â To go for long walks or sit on the dock.Â To watch the brave and fearless thrill-seekers whiz by on the zip line.
Time to be still and know.Â To shed tears borne out of a passion and intensity of worship in community that can be experienced no other way, and in no other place.Â To sit at the foot of the cross – literally and metaphorically – in humble gratitude for the penalty paid in my place.Â To spend true quiet time…uninterrupted, undistracted, unhurried…with my God in a place of peace and solitude.Â To be inspired by testimonies of faithful women.Â To dig deep into God’s word with a hunger and thirst to know Him more.Â To come to Him as I am – no pretenses, no facades, with raw emotion and real questions – and hear His voice as He patiently deals with the mess that I am.
Time to be transformed.Â By His word and His teachings.Â By the community of our shared experiences.Â By the encouragement of fellow Christ-followers.Â By the moments He draws near and opens my heart and mind to His truth.
Time to be renewed.Â Strengthened.Â Re-focused.Â Re-energized.Â Oh, yes, it is most definitely time.Â And while I will be rooting for a Rangers win in the ALCS, I know in my heart that this weekend is about more than baseball.Â It’s about having a life-changing encounter with the life-changing God of the universe.Â It’s time…and I’m ready.
When you’re unemployed, all luxury spending gets cut out of the budget.Â No more eating out.Â No more non-essential clothing items (I’m still trying to convince Matt that a new pair of shoes *is*, in fact, essential).Â No “impulse buys.”Â No frivolous purchases at the grocery store, just because “it looked good.”
No, all those fun ways to spend the money burning a hole in your pocket are suddenly frozen.Â You have to be judicious.Â You have to be careful.Â You have to be wise.Â You have to be fiscally responsible.
And sometimes, you have to break the rules a bit.
Like we did, today.Â We splurged – big time – and treated our family to a once-in-a-lifetime event: Game 4 of the ALDS between the Rangers and Rays.Â We attended church first, proudly sporting our Rangers colors, and then headed out to the Ballpark.Â Though we had paid for a parking pass, we arrived too late to use the assigned lot.Â We ended up using our Six Flags parking pass to find a space close to the third base entrance, and were greeted with this piece of fine artwork on the back of the car in front of us:
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as the Rays took us to a Game 5.Â To console ourselves, we took advantage of our great parking (and season passes) to enjoy a few hours of Fright Fest at Six Flags, which made a great ending to our special day.
It took ‘em eleven long years, but it finally happened.Â And now…it’s time!Â Time for the AL West Division Champions flag to wave over Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Time for the Texas Rangers to continue their season beyond 162 games.Â Time for Rangers fans to take the paper bags off our heads, shake the dust off our rally towels, and prepare for a Red October.Â Time to become a full-fledged, unapologetic, card-carrying member of the “Claw and Antlers Club”.Â Time for Dallas sports fans to have real choices about what to watch in the month of October.
In the words of a former Dallas sports icon, it’s time to “get your popcorn ready.” (wrong sport, but whatever.)
Because the Rangers did it.Â They squeezed the very breath out of our lungs in the process, but they did it.Â In a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum, the Rangers clinched the division.Â The magic number is now ZERO.Â The remaining three teams in the division all have big E’s under the “Games Back” column, and the Texas Rangers have a little “y” next to their name.
The Rangers are post-season bound, baby!!Â It’s time.
And I think it’s time, too, for a look back at this magical season.Â Congratulations, Rangers!!
These are always the most difficult 3 days of my year: when the Rangers travel to Boston to take on my beloved Red Sox at Fenway.Â My allegiances are put to the test: do I honor family tradition and my roots?Â or do I swear allegiance to my Texas, the place where I have built my life?
I never really know what I’m going to do until it happens.Â Some years, I commit to rooting for the home team: cheering on the Sox at Fenway and the Rangers at the Ballpark.Â Some years, it’s all about who has the best chance for the playoffs – which, 99% of the time precludes the Rangers, particularly after the All-Star break.Â And sometimes, it’s just a woman’s prerogative to change her mind with no sensible, logical reason to support her choice.
But last night, it was all about Bengie.Â The Rangers’ newest acquisition made a name for himself last night.Â Well, I suppose in a 13-year career he’s made a name for himself before last night.Â Still, I’m pretty sure no one would have predicted that Bengie Molina would ever hit for the cycle.Â In Fenway of all places, a little bandbox of a stadium, where you feel like you’re sitting in the lap of the person next to you.Â Against the Red Sox, no less.Â But he did.
And here’s how he did it:
I have to admit, as much as I love the Red Sox, as much as I enjoy listening to Eric Nadel (not so much Dave Barnett), as much as Josh Lewin can grate on my nerves with his blathering commentary, it was so much fun listening to the call of Bengie’s triple.Â Hearing Josh and Tom cheer on Bengie like little kids rooting on their hero was something truly special.Â And seeing the joyous reaction of the players in the dugout – and the appreciation shown by the opposing players -Â restored my faith in the value of “team” and the merit of good sportsmanship.
And for one night, an unlikely hero carried his team to an unmistakable victory.Â Thanks for the moment, Bengie Molina.Â We’re glad to have shared it with you.
WHEEE!!!!Â *giggles and squeals of excitement*Â OMG…I’m so excited, I can hardly stand it!!
It’s OPENING DAY, BABY!!! *jumping up and down*
And to top it all off, we have the Sox and Hankies playing each other tonight on national TV!!Â Woot!Â *doing the happy dance*Â It must be my birthday!
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.
Yep, that pretty much sums up my NCAA brackets after this weekend’s games.
She posts!Â And there is an audible *thunk* from the jaws of my few beloved faithful readers hitting the floor.
Yes, it’s been awhile.Â For most of the past year, I have made a valiant attempt to keep the content on this blog somewhat current.Â I even had the best of intentions at the beginning of the year.Â But somehow, things just didn’t work out that way.Â And I suppose it’s time for me to ‘fess up.
You see, over the past two days I’ve had two very special friends (and faithful readers, I might add) who have told me how much they miss this blog.Â And I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover that there are actually people who enjoy reading what I write, who look forward to seeing new posts, who actually keep up with our family’s goings-on and my silly and sometimes poetic musings about life, the universe and everything.Â And I’ve been humbled, as well.
Because for the past 11 months, blogging has been a real struggle for me.Â And the fact that it’s been a struggle is in itself a struggle.Â For most of my life, I have been able to use writing as an emotional outlet.Â Whether things are happy and bright, or whether I’m facing darkness and gloom, I’ve found that putting my thoughts down on paper (whether literally or figuratively) helps me process my experiences, refocus my outlook, and rebalance my perspective.Â But something happened last April that left my soul hollowed-out and empty, and my mind dried-up and drained.Â I deliberately disobeyed God and did something I knew He did not want me to do.Â And afterward, I knew I had blown it.Â I knew I had missed out on His blessing because I had been selfish, I had done what I wanted.
It took awhile for me to forgive myself.Â I knew God had forgiven me, but it was much harder to let go of my own self-criticism.Â And for awhile, I really wondered if I could ever be fully restored.Â But then I felt God’s call to go to Uganda, and I answered.Â Almost as if a test from Him to see if I had learned my lesson, He asked if I would follow and obey.Â I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice.Â Things began to look up.Â Though busy, I felt more spiritually at peace than I had in several months.Â My marriage and family relationships began to heal from my withdrawal, and I was able to finally forgive myself and move forward.
And then Satan showed up with his “fig”. A month before I was scheduled to leave on what was to be the most life-impacting, spiritually challenging experience of my life, Satan sneaks in and dangles that juicy, ripe fig in front of me.Â While I can’t openly share all the details of this particular struggle, I can assure you that it is not an addiction.Â Matt and I are not in danger of separating or divorcing.Â My relationship with my children is happy and healthy and they are as well-adjusted and normal as any typical 7- and 10-year old with imperfect parents can be.Â But this is about a relationship and desiring things that God has clearly said are not mine to have.Â And the battlefield is in my mind.Â It’s a struggle of desiring the things that are right and pure and lovely…and bringing every thought into captivity.Â It’s a struggle of longing for the things and the relationships I have…and not fantasizing about or desiring the one I can’t.Â And this struggle has absolutely consumed me for the past 5 months.
I know what the Bible says.Â I know I am already victorious in Christ.Â I know Christ has already paid the penalty for those times I’ve allowed those wayward thoughts into my mind and indulged in my worldly fantasies.Â I know God has forgiven me each time I’ve confessed my sin.Â I know He is right there waiting to bring me back into a loving and deeper relationship with Him.
But frankly, most of the time I don’t feel it.Â I don’t feel His presence like I did when Matt was fighting his battle against cancer.Â I don’t sense Him carrying me like I did when my dad died unexpectedly.Â I don’t feel His nearness and tender care like I did when I was suffering with loneliness and depression in high school and college.Â I don’t hear His soft whisper in my ear like I did when my job was far too stressful and the future seemed uncertain.Â For the past several months, God has seemed silent.Â Distant.Â Aloof. And the sad thing is, I know it’s me who has moved.Â He is still in the same place He’s always been.
And so I have been silent, too.Â Because I know that I have used my blog to share spiritual insights and encouragement I’ve received.Â I write about what God is teaching me, what I’m learning, and how to put it to use in daily life.Â I write about what I’m grateful for, and the ministries He has placed me in.Â I write about how God is reaching out to my children and writing His name on their hearts.Â And I’m afraid of being called the worst name I could possibly imagine: “hypocrite.”
I was called that once.Â And I’ll never forget the sting those words left…because it was true.Â So, to avoid that pain again, I felt it was easier to hold my tongue.Â To keep my struggle private.Â To get all my ducks in a row and let things get back to normal before I put myself “out there” again.
But now I can see that things may never get back to normal.Â I will probably never have my ducks all in a row.Â This struggle is going to be with me for a long time, and can be a good thing to make me more dedicated in my desire to follow Christ and remain focused on Him.
So with that, I’m back.Â I’m still busy, and life never seems to slow down, but I’m ready.Â Ready to get back in the saddle.Â Ready to be open and honest.Â Ready to admit that I don’t have all the answers.Â Ready to recognize that I’m going to fall, but by God’s grace and through the power of His forgiveness I can have hope of victory.
This old saddle sure feels good.
When my children were babies, our Saturdays weekends revolved around activities where we could be assured of being home in time for afternoon naps.Â At least one of us would be tied to the house for a good three hours between lunch and dinner.Â Sometimes Iâ€™d sigh longingly and be anxious for the day when we could have the ability to do whatever we wanted for however long we wanted.
That day has arrived, and sadly itâ€™s not all itâ€™s cracked up to be.
Take today, for example.Â The day began with a special scout activity for boys in Pack 303 and Troop 303.Â We met up at the historic Pecan Grove Cemetery in McKinney to place American flags on the graves of deceased soldiers and service men and women.Â We listened to a brief history of the project, which was developed by a young man in Troop 303 several years ago as part of his Eagle Scout project.Â That young man was later killed in action in Afghanistan, and is now buried in Pecan Grove cemetery.Â This project has taken on greater significance since his death as it represents part of his legacy.Â It was definitely worth waking up early to be a part of this significant community service project.
We had to leave quickly, however, to be able to get Trey to his soccer game on time.Â Since my mom had gone to the zoo with us yesterday, she had stayed overnight so she could come see their games.Â Itâ€™s been an interesting season with both games and practices cancelled due to rain, but I guess the important thing is that our children have had fun and weâ€™ve seen an improvement, albeit a slight one, in their soccer skills.
Once again, we made a fast getaway to get home and changed before our Cub Scout end-of-year party and parent meeting.Â One of the parents had graciously volunteered to host a swim party for all the boys and their families.Â With a den as large as ours, that can be quite an overwhelming number!Â But we had a great turnout and the kids all had fun!
By the time the party was over and we were headed home, it was around 8:00.Â Trey and I had been gone since about 7:45 that morning!Â And there were still baths to do, stories to read, and prayers to say.Â And I needed time to prepare for Sunday morning worship with my preschool friends.
Yeah, maybe this whole â€œbusyâ€ thing is overrated.
We interrupt your normally scheduled Wednesday American Idol prediction post to bring you this important message:
THE TEXAS RANGERS ARE IN FIRST PLACE IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST.
I’m in shock.Â Â Utter disbelief.Â Completely and totally incredulous.
And either a cold front has moved through hell or I just saw a pig flying outside my living room window.
Enjoy the moment, friends, for it may not last long.