Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Perspective: MLB debut

Let's talk baseball.
As some of you may know, Ken made his MLB debut this season with the Rockies. 
Wanna hear about that day from my perspective?
Read on!

(photo designed by one of our talented friends, Shane Read)

I remember it like it was yesterday.
We had just come home from a long game, it was midnight, and we were about to sit down and work on our puzzle we had just bought (we are seriously old people at heart). As we were sitting there, Ken got a text from his manager telling him to call him, and that it was an emergency. 
We both knew what that meant. 
Ken called his manager, and he began to tell Ken that he wanted to talk about how he wasn't paying attention in the meeting that was held that day. 
If any of you know Ken, that's not ever a thing you would say about him. 
After a little banter back and forth, the manager told Ken to come back to the clubhouse, pack up his stuff, and that he was going to the Big Leagues. 
(cue the tears)
Ken was so calm and collected, yet overwhelmed and excited. 
The call he had been dreaming of and working SO hard for since he was literally 3 years old, was finally his reality.  
We were both so happy that we could be spending this moment together. 
It was so special.
We called his parents, then called mine. 

We got in the car and drove 20 minutes back to the field. 
He goes in, packs his stuff, and we head back to the apartment.
In less than ten minutes (it's now probably 1:30 in the morning), our whole closet is torn apart and we are trying to figure out what to pack. 
The thing is, he could be up for 1 day or the rest of the season (bet you didn't know that about baseball!). 
We literally had no idea. 
We packed clothes, important documents, and finally ended up getting into bed around 3 am. 
I ended up being able to book the same flight as him, and we were set to wake up around 6 am to head to the airport. 

The next morning came quick. 
We both tossed and turned and obviously just couldn't sleep.
We were both so excited, but for Ken, he almost couldn't be excited and let his guards down, because the next day he could be throwing in his first Major League Baseball game and he had to be focused. 
We were exhausted but so excited. 
(have I mentioned we were really excited?)
 The whole thing was surreal!

Incredibly tired but totally ready, we got on our plane and headed to San Diego. 

San Diego was beautiful.

(this is the view from our hotel room, of course not doing it justice)

We got to our hotel, and Ken headed for the field right after.
Luckily, Ken's parents flew in that day, and the assistant to Ken's agent drove us around everywhere we wanted and needed to go. 

That day Ken didn't throw which we were so happy since it had been such a long night and day for all of us, but especially him! 
We were all able to just soak up the fact that he was in the Big Leagues in beautiful San Diego and got to enjoy the day. 

(I'm not even sure who took this photo... I think maybe Root Sports tweeted it or something.)

(these photos were taken in the tunnel after the game)

The next day, May 3, 2015
 he made his MLB debut. 



One thing that was really cool to see is that on his debut, he got to throw to Michael McKenry. 
Michael and his wife Jaclyn have turned into dear friends of ours.
Ken actually threw bullpens that off season to Michael, which made throwing to him in his debut a little more comfortable than it normally would have been to a catcher he barely knew.
Michael and Ken both attended the same college, MTSU, so it was a special moment for both of them.
A Blue Raider battery in the MLB... 
Again, so thankful for how the Lord works out every detail. 

I remember being at peace the whole outing, and it was oddly calming to watch my husband out on the mound. 
After his 3 out, no run inning, as he walked to the dugout and all the guys cheered him on and welcomed him with high-fives... I sat back in that stadium seat overwhelmed with tears just thanking God for an amazing first outing, and for this amazing journey He has brought us on.
Observing my husband doing what he was created to do was absolutely breath taking. 
I will never forget that moment.

If you want to hear his perspective?

Monday, February 1, 2016

What's your focus?

Just yesterday I was reminiscing with my husband about this time last year.
We were newly married, and as some of you know, I was dealing with very heavy anxiety and depression.
I didn't really know what was going on with me or where it came from.
I had countless sleepless nights, and could be at the most fun social events and still feel blue with no explanation.
I hated it.
That's not the point of this blog.. I have many other posts about my struggle through anxiety, including this one, if you haven't read it, it's called
The Battle No One Talks About.

Today's post is actually about the opposite of anxiety.
It's about enjoying life.
Like I said, just yesterday I was talking with my husband about how much has changed for the better since this time last year.
The difference between this year and last year is that I'm actually enjoying my life again.
 I sit and eat a meal with friends and enjoy the moment.
I go outside for a walk and enjoy everything about it.
 I joked with my husband recently that I was turning into my mom when I went for walks.
I never understood why my mom would always love to stop and look at flowers, or take pictures of trees, or gasp over the beauty of a sunset or the moon.
But now, I totally get it.
Now, I totally do all of those things.
Now, I think there is something we can all learn from her.
She was enjoying, and still enjoys the little things in life.
Let me explain.
Something Kenneth and I have strived for this whole year is to enjoy every moment.
Through practice, I feel as if it's lead me to this moment; these moments where I am full of joy, full of laughter, and full of true love and appreciation for each person in my life and the value they bring to it.

In Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 I love how the Message version of the Bible puts it:

"After looking at the way things are on this earth, here's what I've decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that's about it. That's the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what's given and delighting in the work. It's God's gift! God deals out joy in the present, in the now. It's useless to brood over how long we might live."

I read this the other day and was just so overwhelmed with the sense that I really can and do enjoy God's blessings that He has given my husband and I.
No money in the world, no possession, no position will ever bring me as much joy as God Himself does when he allows my anxieties to cease and His joy to increase.
(okay, so I rhymed there, you're welcome)

I remember during this past season I was in our hotel in Philly, and I recall the Lord specifically asking me and nudging me to be honest with myself.
His question was, "What's your focus in life?"
As a wife of a professional baseball player, I'll be really honest, and I'll tell you on behalf of other Christian women in this industry that I've talked to as well (I'm not speaking for everyone), that it's so easy to lose the focus of what REALLY matters in life.
It's easy to get caught up in trade rumors, injuries, what team our husbands will play for, traveling to the next city alone or some with 3 to 4 kids, how his last outing went, how his next outing will go.. I mean I could go on and on about the secret struggles and thoughts we face every day.

I remember asking God,
"What do you mean, what's my focus? Of course it's you, Lord."
And I probably wasn't being dishonest in that moment.
 I was focused on the Lord, what He was doing, what He wanted, how He wanted me to treat people and treat my husband, how He wanted me to love Him and spend time with Him... these things were all my focus. These things are even good things to focus on.

I think though, that this question sparked something in me to take a step back and remember that verse in Ecclesiastes.
You see, this life really isn't about anything but being in relationship with our Creator and enjoying every single day He has given us.
Some people think God is just a hard judge over everyone waiting for you to give your life to him so you can't have any fun, you obey a ton of rules, and never get to do what you want.
The thing is, a life truly enjoyed is a life that is filled with God.
I remember the Lord speaking to me in that hotel room in downtown, busy Philadelphia and hearing Him softly remind me to start living a life full of what really matters:
healthy relationships, love for others, enjoyment in every moment I may tend to take for granted.
To have mercy for others, to walk and talk with compassion to people who are struggling through hard times and insecurities, to show boundless grace on those who may be trying to figure this whole Jesus/God'Christianity thing out.
These are the things that matter.

In all of this, our focus should be an enjoyment of the every day journey.
The Bible says that we should not work or strive for the food that perishes (money, position, possessions, etc.)
 Although all of those things aren't bad at all, but we should instead be more obsessed with the things that endure and make an impact even after we die.
Mercy. Love. Relationships. People. Grace.
Let's start to fall in love and enjoy everything about God and the relationships and work He has blessed us with.

I challenge you in your workplace, in your church if you attend one, in your family-- start living a life centered around things that matter, and start to enjoy it.
If you're a barista, a preacher, a teacher, or a CEO...
If you're a mom, a wife, a writer, or a nutrition expert...

Start enjoying the lot that the Lord has given you in this beautiful life!
Don't take any day for granted.
Choose to enjoy every moment of the work the Lord has so graciously placed in your hands.
Not only has God given you these things, He has given you the very capability to enjoy those blessings.
It's our choice to begin to enjoy and be thankful every moment of the day.