Monthly Archives: August 2010

Curve Balls

I love baseball…the crack of the bat, the popcorn, the crowd cheering, the competition, the team spirit, the green grass, and the history of the game. I love everything about it! While growing up, I was a huge fan of Cal Ripkin and the Baltimore Orioles. I collected baseball cards and watched as many games as I could. Going to Camden Yards in 2004 was the realization of a lifelong dream. Standing in the home dugout was surreal. I felt like I was literally dreaming! Go O’s!  I have a deep respect for the game and the strategy that goes on between the white lines unobserved by the casual fan.    

One of the things I enjoy watching when it comes to strategy is the interplay between the catcher and the pitcher. The catcher gives the pitcher a sign using his hands. The pitcher knows what pitch to throw as a result. Clear communication between the tandem is imperative. I like trying to guess the next pitch. For example, is it going to be a fastball, breaking ball, or change up?

One of my favorite pitches to watch a pitcher throw and a bewildered batter try to hit is a curve ball, also known as a type of breaking ball. Curve balls can make grown men look like T-Ball players as they swing and miss. What makes a curve ball so difficult to hit?

Here is the best answer I could find from the following website: http://www.exploratorium.edu/baseball/curve.html

“A major league curveball can veer as much as 171/2 inches from a straight line by the time it crosses the plate. Over the course of a pitch, the deflection from a straight line increases with distance from the pitcher. So curveballs do most of their curving in the last quarter of their trip. Considering that it takes less time for the ball to travel those last 15 feet (about 1/6 of a second) than it takes for the batter to swing the bat (about 1/5 of a second), hitters must begin their swings before the ball has started to show much curve. No wonder curveballs are so hard to hit.”

So, a curve ball doesn’t overpower the hitter, it deceives them. Interesting! The ball appears to be coming in towards home plate on a straight line and then the bottom falls out! Sounds a lot like life at times…

My mentor coach, Cheryl Scanlan (www.wayoflifecoaching.com), has been thrown a few curve balls in life. However, she always seems to stay in the batter’s box long enough to foul off enough pitches and get a great hit. Her ability to do so is not natural…it is supernatural! I remember asking her what helps her focus when she is staring a curve ball in the face. She shared two questions with me that she asks herself: 1) what are the facts? and 2) what can I be thankful for in this situation? Powerful questions that I started practicing in my own life!! 

When I am in the batter’s box of life facing 98 miles an hour heat and erratic tunneling curve balls, these questions help me to gain clarity and focus on my vision, instead of the circumstances surrounding me, like the crowd roaring or the fear of striking out. 

The first question, what are the facts, helps me to recalibrate so to speak. I can tease the facts from the emotions, which allows me to make better decisions. Most decisions made when you are emotionally engaged, turn out to be wrong. When you are able to see the facts or the truth of your situation separated from your emotional involvement in the situation, the picture becomes so much clearer.   

The second question, what can I be thankful for in this situation, helps me to reposition my current situation in light of my whole life and beyond. There is always something to be thankful for in every situation. Even on the darkest days of my life, I am a very blessed woman and when I raise my arms in thanksgiving, my current situation takes on a different hue.

By incorporating these questions into my life, I have discovered that I am much more patient and respond to situations instead of react to them. Similarly, when a batter is facing a curve ball, patience is his best friend. Since we cannot avoid the curve balls of life, I leave you with a question to ponder. Are you in the dugout, bracing yourself for the next curve ball or are you in the batter’s box, bat in hand, preparing to knock it out of the park?

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Ready, Set, GO!

Well, I am the proud parent of a Kindergartener at Neuse Charter School!

Callie had a great first couple of days and she is looking forward to next week already. She made some new friends and she says that “craft” time is her favorite part of the day! Some things never change!

Sean is adapting to his newfound independence. I didn’t realize how much he talks until Callie was gone this week. Callie can’t speak for him since she is in school, so he is finding his own little voice. He still wants to know when Callie is coming home, just like he did when she was in preschool. I am so thankful that they are great friends and they look out for each other.

So…ready, set, GO! Here is to a great year at NCS. Callie knows that nothing is beyond her reach. We will be at the finish line before we blink.

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New Beginnings…

Tulips are my favorite flower. When I see those sturdy green sprouts shoot forth from the hard cold winter soil, my heart skips a beat. I then anticipate the amazing colorful tulips that will grace my yard for a couple of weeks. When I see the first colorful petals of the brilliant cup-shaped flower, I am filled with joy. It reminds me of the resurrection. The bulbs spend the cold dark night of winter in a tomb and when their appointed time is at hand, they gloriously rise up out of the darkness! Their appearance is breathtaking and their color is vibrant. But without the cold dark winter they spent preparing for their splendor, there would be no new beginning.

What a parallel to our own lives! There are times of pain and growth and then there are times of glory and splendor. We can’t have one without the other. New beginnings are possible due to things ending and preparing us for the next leg of our journey. What phase of life are you in? Are you at a new beginning or are you in a season of preparation for a new beginning?

In my life, I am at a new beginning. My precious daughter starts Kindergarten in two weeks. I am ambivalent about the thought of her leaping into this new phase of her life. And when I say leap, it is exactly what I picture her doing. She has absolutely no fear of most anything. This is a child that calls the frogs and earthworms her friends. When she sees the tulips spring forth, she exuberantly exclaims that the earthworms created good dirt so the tulips could bloom. What a precious blessing she is in my life.

So, what am I ambivalent about? Many things…have I done my job as a mother, to love and protect her, yet prepare her for the next leg of her journey? How is she going to handle being at school for 8 hours…how am I going to handle her being at school for 8 hours? Will her teacher understand her quirks and give her room to grow, instead of putting her in a box that is way too small for her temperament? How will her 2-year-old sidekick handle his big sister and biggest playmate being gone most of the day?

Callie probably summed up my ambivalence best when I asked her last week if she was ready for school. She said, “Mom, I am excited and a little bit nervous.” Well said, Callie….my thoughts exactly! I am so excited for her and this new beginning, but I am also nervous about the unknown.

New beginnings in life are to be expected. Every day offers us a new beginning, a chance to start over, to do things different than we did them yesterday. I am so thankful for God’s word that reminds me of His great and unfailing mercy that is renewed every morning in my life (Lamentations 3:22-23). 

Whether you are at a place of new beginnings in your life, like the glorious spring tulips or in hibernation like the tulip bulbs of winter as God prepares you for the next leg of your journey, take heart, dear friends. God’s mercy in your life will be more than enough to give you all that you need to overcome and be victorious. It may not turn out the way you intended, but it will be what is best for you.

Stay tuned to my blog to see how August 26th turns out…Callie’s first day of Kindergarten! I know I will be excited and sad and may feel a little lost without her at home with Sean and me, but I trust the unknown of that day to my God who knows all.

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