A Letter to David Nelson (NY Jet and Future Adoptive Dad)

Hey David,

Most people know you as the extremely gorgeous, rock star wide-receiver for the New York Jets.  Or, the guy who caught the national-championship winning touchdown from Florida Gators’ quarterback, Tim Tebow.  But not me.  

Honestly, I had never heard of you before today.  Didn’t know you from Adam.  But I just watched a five minute video about you and your brother and the hearts you both have for your nine (yes, nine!) Haitian kids.  And I am blown away.

I am wide-eyed and teary-eyed and so full of conviction and hope, I can hardly stand it.  My heart burst in a million little ways as I watched your story unfold before me from the comfort of my suburban kitchen.

Your testimony is powerful, life-changing and inspiring.  

But what do I do with the tender story I’ve seen?

You had (and have) it all.  Money.  Fame.  Power.  Prestige.  Your not-to-shabby appearance probably doesn’t hurt either.  You confess you once lived out of “selfishness” and “vanity,” wanting all this world has to offer (see list above) while wanting for nothing.  And yet, one trip to Haiti to help clean up after their devastating earthquake changed everything.

You saw a kid.  Trapped in rebar.  You stopped. You offered him food, candy, games.  You offered him the world.  But he refused it all.  He looked up at you and asked for one thing.  He wanted to be held.  He wanted the one thing.  He wanted a hug.  He wanted – LOVE.  

He didn’t want the world.  He wanted you.  

You picked him up.  You hugged him and your world changed forever.  You and your brother started a foundation called I’m Me and rented a house in Port-Au-Prince to help take care of the fatherless in a city teeming with just about nothing else.  One day you got a phone call from a local Haitian that there were five children on the verge of death.  But when you got to Haiti to bring them in, you found out there were nine – not five.  Nine kids.  Living in complete and utter filth and suffering.  And you didn’t walk away.  You entered into their mess.

Now, with the help of a Haitian staff and some American volunteers, you and your brother are taking care of nine kids you plan to adopt.  Your body is here in the US, playing football for your home team, but your heart is half-a-world-away on an island in the poorest region of the world.  Tears run down your cheek as you skype with them and your eyes get lost in theirs.  You are ruined for love of them.  

I want to tell you to I see God in your story.  A redemptive God with a heart bigger than all the yuck of this world.  You say these kids have given you more than you have given them.

And you know what?  I believe you.  I believe your story is now part of a bigger one that is just getting started.  You are a member of a different team.  A God-shaped team. 

And that is a team worth rooting for …. God bless you.

TO SEE THE FULL STORY – CLICK HERE (It’s totally worth it.  Just don’t expect to walk away the same…)

A Letter to Dishonest Moms & Dads

Dear Moms & Dads,

It happened the other day; one of those moments we all dread. My son called me out on a parenting inconsistency. He told me he didn’t get to watch the same shows at age 10 that his little sister gets to watch now thereby informing me that our media standards have gradually lowered. Doh!

So there was a fork in the road there. I could have, in an even-tempered way, thanked him and told him he was absolutely correct. I might have said we needed to really analyze that inconsistency and make some changes, post haste.

But what actually happened…

is that I told him I didn’t really need his help parenting.

Oooooh, you would have said the same thing. Admit it. But it was like spraying a powerful fire extinguisher on a tiny lit match – a little too much emotion for a simple teenage observation (albeit a snarky one).

What do we do with these moments when we’ve been “found out?” What happens when our kids start to examine our decisions with their own young adult lens and find those decisions to be lackluster?

It reminds me of a book I love, Pinocchio Parenting; 21 Outrageous Lies We Tell Our Kids by Chuck Borsellino. Chuck B. says sometimes we tell our kids things that aren’t true to save them from being sad, mad or scared. We might say things like:

“Your fish went to live with their friends in the ocean.”

“Just tell me the truth and I promise I won’t get mad”

“If you make that face again, your face will freeze that way.”

Or some more broad ones like:

“You can be absolutely anything you want to be in this life.”

“You can achieve any goal you set your mind to.”

“Looks don’t matter; it’s what’s on the inside that counts.”

“It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose its how you play the game.”

Our purposes may be noble, but Borsellino says we lie to our kids for three main reasons.

  1. To help them make sense out of their circumstances
    That’s OK honey; he wasn’t good for you anyway.

  2. To bring assurance to their anxieties
    Looks don’t matter, it’s what’s inside that counts.

  3. To inspire them to reach beyond their limits
    If you can dream it, you can do it.

The problem is—while each of these statements sounds good, none of them are true. Each one contains a little bit of fact and a little bit of fiction.

When we tell our children things that aren’t true (even with the best intentions) we lose our credibility with them in the long run and we set their beliefs up now for failures tomorrow.

I just heard Neil Patrick Harris being interviewed about his new autobiography and he says this about his parents, “They very much wanted us to embrace those things which we responded to so they didn’t push us into football. We were in little league baseball but they quickly saw that I wasn’t so good at it and wasn’t so interested in it and so then being able to be in…theater was something I was rabid about and would talk about all the time and thankfully they didn’t tell me that was bad and that the other was good. They let me do my thing and it empowered me to want to be better at it.”

And a Doogie was born.

What is something you’ve said to your kids that has the potential to be untrue down the line? Did you tell your son who is destined to be 5’1” that he could be in the NBA if he put his mind to it? Did you tell your daughter who trips more than she remains standing that she has a future in the Bolshoi ballet?

Probably not. But maybe there are things we could examine in our encouragements that could stand to be reviewed.

And trust me, friends. I’m under review right now. Just ask my kids. I gotta wrap this up so I can cue up The Walton’s or Little House on the Prairie to watch with the fam later.

A Letter to Kara Tippetts

Dear Kara Tippetts,

When I first started reading your blog (I’m sure anyone reading my blog has read hers), and learning of your plight with cancer, I felt like I had something to offer to you.  I felt like I wanted to sit down with you over a cup of coffee and tell you that your kids will be OK should your cancer progress.  I wanted to tell you that they will be lovers of Jesus, heaven and you in the most genuine and pure way.  That the lines between this life and life to come will in some ways blur for your kids.  But after months and months of following your blog, I’m pretty sure I have nothing to offer you that you don’t already know.  I am quite sure that I have learned more about living after the death of a family member, from you, even though I should be the expert.     

Shortly after my husband died, I wrote a post about feeling like I was in a pile of hot coals, and to touch me, was to burn yourself.  In a way, I feel a bit of a parallel with your story.  Your story can feel so painful and so hot to the touch, that to even read your blog, it could burn a little.  Sometimes, I even turn away for a time, so I can gear up to read your latest thoughts.  But what I have found, in continuing to read each post, is that I find the warmth and not the burn.  In a story that feels so wrong, so scary, so what we all don’t want to happen to us, you give it warmth.  You offer Jesus as the safe, place in a story full of scary.  You have reminded me that love never ends.  You have encouraged me to extend grace, patience and love, even when I was in so much physical pain over the past year.  You kept bringing my eyes back to Jesus.  You make suffering, much more than pain.  You even sometimes allow it to be named beautiful.  You have given permission to love Jesus in the most difficult of circumstances. From the outside, you seem to have grown less and less fearful and more and more confident of grace and the road God has called you to walk.  Yet, you have never pretended that this is anything, but the most difficult hard to walk through.  I am so humbled by your story and your story has given me so much freedom in loving Jesus through every hard piece of life and every beautiful gift of life.  

Having written all that, it turns out that I can’t help, but to tell you one little story that I want to pass on to you.  I wasn’t planning on it, but after I started this letter on Thursday, we had an event at church on Friday night.  It was a special worship service that revolved around loving our city.  One of the pastors asked if our family would join a bunch of other families in holding up signs that read, “God loves the broken hearted,” or “God loves the homeless,” etc. . .   The poster board that Spencer ended up with was, “God loves the fatherless.”  When we went to the front of the church during the song, I had zero emotion.  I was just wondering where I should stand.  A few lines in, I saw Spencer a few people away from me on the top step, holding his sign, with such confidence.  He kept pushing it forward and holding it higher, as if to say,  “People, believe this!”  I don’t even think that Spencer had any idea of what he was doing.  He wasn’t intentionally holding his board like that trying to convince people that God loves the fatherless.  But it was a Holy Spirit moment. During the song, I was not watching anyone else.  I was just trying to hold my tears in (and I evidently wasn’t worried about my zipper that was down, while I was holding a poster board above my head in front of the whole church).  At the time, I had no idea, what kind of impact this moment had on others until, countless people told me, with tears in their eyes every time, that they just lost it.  Nobody could totally explain why, but they all talked about his posture, while holding the sign.  Spencer was a walking testimony that night.  And he is all the time.  He has no agenda.  He is just walking around as a whole child.  Not broken.  Not cracked.  With a heart ten times the size as it was before Dave died.  He is not perfect, but there is something that God has done in His life, from the moment Dave died.  I believe that Dave sees it and that he knows all that, but it is something that I wish I could tell him.  I have no idea what Dave’s death was like.  I don’t know if he knew he was having a heart attack or if he just suddenly died, but if he knew what was happening at all, I wish that he could have supernaturally seen this moment somehow. 

After Dave died, I was so beyond worried about my kids.  I still worry and I hurt for them that they don’t have a dad, but it never occurred to me, when Dave first died, that my kids would walk around as little unknowing testimonies of God’s healing hand and redemption.  I’m so fortunate to see it all the time.  Kara, maybe this sound presumptuous, but I know that your kids will be the same.  They get to just be them and God will be using them in every way to show His glory. After Dave died, a friend stated that God really will become so evident their lives.  I didn’t totally believe her, because it seemed impossible that they would really be OK, but God has done immeasurably more in their lives than I ever could have imagined.

I’m still praying along with thousands of others that God will heal you.  That you will be on this earth until you are 101 . . . no if, ands, or buts!

 You can't even see his face, but Spencer is in the top left of this picture.
You can’t even see his face, but Spencer is in the top left of this picture.







A Letter to Writer’s Block

Dear Writer’s Block,

I have a serious bone to pick with you. According to Wikipedia you are “a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new writing.”

Why must you plague me now? What gives?!

A team is only as strong as its weakest link and I have two other women counting on me to pull my leg of this relay! There are three of us. Holly, Christina, and me. We are all in this together. We’re actually starting this blog. This is something that’s been a pie in the sky dream of ours for a while now. And our first challenge, straight out of the gates, is to participate in a 31 day writing challenge for the month of October.

Write every day. For 31 days. I guess it’s supposed to develop my cerebral muscles. (Those may be the only ones I’m toning at the moment!)

Seems simple enough. I’ve been an English-speaker my whole verbal life. I have a brain full of words chomping at the bit to be released to the world. How hard could it be to write that often?

Not to mention, I’m not even doing this alone! It’s not like I have to come up with a string of 31 blog posts all by myself. No. I only have to come up with 1/3 of them. That means I need to come up with 10 (because we’ve already missed a day to make it even – genius).

And today marks my 4th. Count ’em. Four. I’m less than half-way there and I can’t conjur anything interesting to write about.

For the love.

You’d think, with the wildly exciting life I live I’d be able to come up with a plethora more than four. You’d think, with all the shenanigans that transpire under my roof every day, I’d have so many stories in the hopper I wouldn’t be able to contain myself. You’d think, with the amount of adventure and interesting goings-on in my neck of the woods, I’d have a hard time deciding WHICH anecdote to share first. I would grin just imagining the look of awe and wonder on each reader’s face as she (or he! – no sexism here) digests the perfect blog cocktail; a sweet elixir made of wildly entertaining, deeply inspirational and heart-tugging challenge.

Why, oh why is so hard to come up with such a stirring mix of new work?

Have I run out of inspiration? Do I need a new muse? Am I distracted by lesser thoughts? Perhaps I am intimidated by the witty prose of my counter-parts.

Whatever the case, I will have no more of you. I’ve got your number. You are trying to make me believe I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but I’ll show you! I’ll go for walk. I’ll get a good night’s sleep. I’ll have a quiet time of evaluation and reflection. I’ll eat a well-balanced diet.

Someday. But not now.

Right now, I don’t have time for any of that. Because, in three days time I need to come up with another new post and I, for one, will not let you get the best of me!

A Letter to 29 Days of the Month

Dear 29 Days of the Month,

Sometimes I don’t see the grand design. I think most of us can agree that there are multiple 24 hour stretches of time that just seem full of entropy, missed connections and misunderstood purpose. This letter is to those days. And it seems like there are more challenging days then glory days

Just this week, every member of my family noted at dinner one night that I was being rather “direct” and “no-nonsense” as I delivered instruction on homework, finances and everything in between. I’m all business during days like this preferring transaction over transformation, results rather than relationship.

And it takes me an embarrassingly long amount of time to “cop” to my prickliness, to admit this everything-would-fall-apart-without-me attitude. And maybe you can relate somehow. Please tell me I’m not alone in my mess.

Do you chirp cheerily through each day re-doing what’s been undone in your house/life/office?

Do sing-songy tones erupt out of you as you sort/fold/complete/check AGAIN and AGAIN? You don’t have to answer that.

The 29 Days concept isn’t mine. I heard Dan Hazeltine, lead singer of Jars of Clay on a recent Relevant Podcast saying; “29 days of the month…things just aren’t working out, things are in tension and we don’t quite get what God is doing and we don’t really see what our place is and what humanity is really about…how our story is contributing… that’s where we live life most of the time.” Hazeltine says the band writes their music for those 29 days of the month when things just aren’t quite right.

I get it. And maybe I write to make sense of these same days – the days when things aren’t exactly heaven on earth.(See Hebrews 11:13-16, Romans 8:18, John 17:14-17 for ideas on why some days feel just “meh.”)

But before you permanently throw me into the Eeyor category, I want you to know that the 29 days of the month are important. Why? Because one or two days left in that month feel…

glowy with hope.

ripe with potential.

totally worth the other 29.

There ARE days when I see the plan coming together. These are the days when I CAN understand why I’m wired this way.  And days that DO feel purposefully provident. I think it’s a little thing called hope.

Hope shines its light in the darkness in a way that nothing else can. Hope is irrepressible. Hope is contagious. And hope can carry even the most beat down through tough days.

Even during the  intervention my family put down on me the other night, I felt a glimmer of hope. I knew deep down that I was super crispy with this 29 day schlog through the “stuff.” And so I saw, even in their timid glances at me while having this “mom, you’ve got to cool it” conversation that they wanted ME back. They weren’t just annoyed at being bossed around. They love it when I’m the most replenished and have a hopeful perspective.

So lift your interweb glass to the hope for better days. Cheers to the hope that does indeed come.

And to you 29 days of the month: I am signing off on this letter. Tomorrow is not one of you.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

— Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)

A Letter to All Purse Wearers

Dear Purse Wearers,

Tomorrow is National Handbag Day.  I would venture to guess that not many of you know this, as it is one of the more recent holidays to be created.  I’m not sure why on earth we would need a National Handbag Day, but it does bring to light a part of our culture that is worth noting.


Purses are an important part of a woman’s daily life.  All we need to do, is leave it somewhere and we realize the importance it holds.  I once left my purse in the food court during the Christmas shopping season at Park Meadows Mall in Denver a few years back. I do that kind of thing.  Upon realizing that it was missing my heart raced to about 300 beats per minute, until I found it at the service desk.  Phew!  Even this very morning, I told my three kids that whoever could find my purse, could get three boxes filled in on their chore chart.  I am paralyzed without my purse!

The other night, I went to see a play called, “Love, Loss and what I Wore.”  It was touching, hilarious and so true!  It addressed all the ideas of what we wear.  How all of us have stood in front of our closet full of clothes and exclaimed that we have, “nothing to wear.”  It highlighted the experience of buying your first bra.  Who doesn’t remember that traumatic experience?  I even remember the dressing room number I was in that day!  Then there was an extended piece on purses.  I was laughing so hard that I was crying, because it was so true.  We all start out with a new purse, adamantly determined to keep this one organized. But before long, it is strewn with receipts, caked on unchewed gum, a half unwrapped tampon, a bag of six peanuts from the last flight we took six months ago, kleenex that may or may not have been used, keys that go to nothing you are aware of and multiple lip products, half of which are missing the lid!

Purses can be an extention of us.  How is this item so important?  As we go to buy a purse, there is so much to consider.  Does it go over the shoulder, over the arm, across the body.  Is it a neutral color to match everything or is it whimsical?  Would it hold enough to pack for a three day trip, or would it just hold a phone, keys, chapstick, credit card and license?  What does this purse say about me?  The list goes on.

Even though purses are so important, I have always always been dumbfounded when I flip through Style magazine and see that the trending purses are in the neighborhood of $450. What?  (This is when I get a little self righteous.)  Who pays that much for a purse?  You could feed an orphanage for a year with that kind of money!!!  How are they calling a $90 purse, “A deal of the century?”  Oprah must be living a little different reality!  A deal of the century would be finding a cute purse for $3.99!  I would never spend that sort of money on a purse! I’m so holy! But then I realize.  I may not be spending money on expensive purses, but it’s not like I’m giving the money that I save on not buying expensive purses, away. (If you have a triple negative in a sentence, does that erase the double negative rule?)

So, tomorrow, I am using National Purse Day, to put my money where my mouth is.  My three kids have each chosen a purse.  It was hilarious to watch Spencer pick out a purse.  He loved this old lady looking purse.  Then we filled them with gloves, fun socks, eclectic sunglasses, a package of Kleenex and a Safeway gift card.    Now comes the the scary part!  Finding someone to give it to.  All of the sudden, I’m not sure that I will really do this, but I kinda think God might be calling me to step out a little and actually speak to a homeless person.  My kids are really excited about it.  I kinda thought that Spencer might not want to involve himself in anything purses, but he was the first to remind me that we need to fill purses tonight!  We’ll see how this goes, people!  Oh, and feel free to join me in my new National Handbag Day event.  I would love to hear about it!



A Letter to the Christian Blog World

I have a question for the seemingly infinite blog-o-sphere:  Are you full?  Meaning, is there any room in the inn for another blog?  Or, are you saturated, at capacity, and ready to throw up the “no vacancy” sign?

I wonder this because our little tribe of three is adding one more blog to your already crowded cyber real estate.  I’m not sure exactly how many blogs currently exist in the world, but I’m betting the numbers rival those of the national debt.  That’s a heck of a lot of blogs.  Blogs about decorating and orphan care and people chatting at the sky.

Do you really have room for one more?

Let’s just say you do have room because the world-wide-interweb is as vast as the universe itself.  A better question would be do you want another one?

There are already some truly amazing, faith-based blogs out there – what with, @lysaterkeurst, @annvoskamp, @jennieallen, @jenhatmaker, @thenester, @emilypfreeman and the like peppering the airwaves with their salty, inspiring, challenging, funny, poetic, thought-provoking words.  I love and follow all those women!  They have wonderful things to say, yet I barely have time to read what they produce.

Is it worth adding to the caucophony of voices?  Maxing capacity in inboxes bursting at the seams?

I guess we think it is.  It’s kind of like wondering if there are too many stars in the universe.  The stars are too numerous to count, but each one twinkles with it’s own light, in its own unique space and time – to be enjoyed by the people that are meant to enjoy it at that moment.  And each star connects to the others, creating beautiful new pictures in the night sky.  Each star is a contributing member of the whole wonderous tapestry of light.

Perhaps that’s what one more blog can be.  A piece of the tapestry.  Another signpost to the bigger picture – the one where the ultimate victory was won at the cross.  The Apostle John tells us in the book of Revelation (12:11) that we will “overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony.”  That’s a pretty stacked promise!

So blog world, that’s what we’re clinging to.  A promise to overcome as we type away, adding words and phrases that unpack real, authentic life, faith, struggles and joys that ultimately and always point back to the cross.

Thanks for welcoming us to the neighborhood.  I, for one, think a block party is in order!                          

A Letter to Wonder Woman

It’s super fun, when in stressful seasons, to think of you, Wonder Woman and your hyper-abilities. It transports me out of myself to think of all the things you can do much more quickly than I can.

I picture you in your shiny red boots, some kind of super bling gold jog bra (with lots of support). You have a spray tan of course, a perfectly frilly but no-nonsense mini-skirt, blue/black silky-clean, hot-rolled hair flowing around perfectly as you blaze around the sky and earth being productive to help and to serve fellow man

As much fun as it is to daydream about you, I am betting you intimidate people at dinner parties.

After all, when someone asks how your weekend is going, what are you supposed to say? You’re just being honest when you list the highlights; brunch with Batman & Robin, a repaint of the house, quality time with the kids, with an important speech to civic leaders thrown in. You gab with wit and wisdom while putting on an air of “oh it’s nothing, really. I’m just keeping up with the Jones’s like everybody else.”

But you probably fly OVER the Jones’s house to make sure their cat isn’t stuck in the tree limb. You are incorrigible. Especially at this dinner party – I am already losing my appetite for the canapés – just being in your company. Your little Wonder Woman “get-up” doesn’t even have pockets, for the love

So let’s quit this charade and be realistic, Double Dubs. There’s a bit of wear and tear on that vinyl used-to-be shiny, booted outfit, right? You’re a hard worker, pretty organized, more or less but you definitely need root touch ups more than you’d like to admit. Oh, sure, you can manage the crap out of a checklist but you don’t always feel like you’re serving mankind – maybe the end product in your world feels a little more….well…ordinary sometimes.

But in MY little world of carpool, permission slips, timesheets and Costco, I can kind of get my head around this super-hero concept. I can do more than the average gal. I can do it with a loving tone, a lack of road rage and always be listening to a wholesome podcast in the car. THIS is the Wonder Woman I can conjure.

And I bet we can approach Wonder Woman status – we may just need snow tires, many phone charging stations along the way and an unlimited budget, can I get an amen?

But that brings me to our goal for this blog. This is most distinctly NOT a place for the #humblebrags and the Super Women. This is a place for

…..the rest of us.

I swear this is a true story: I went straight from my very first moms group meeting (circa 1882) to Dillard’s because I realized after comparing myself to everybody that I had the wrong shoes!

Girls!?! I paid way too much money for shoes I couldn’t afford because I couldn’t get over it!

The “rest of us” is a phrase we like because it conveys a level playing field. We hope the comparisons fall flat here because we’re having a chuckle not adding to the checklist.

We want you to laugh a little, be challenged on occasion and feel loved on whether you’re sitting on the toilet with your phone or just taking a short break from all that belongs to your busy day.

Make this a place where your heart can make a soft landing and can once in a while take a hard look at True things.

Pretend you’re at a dinner party, and Wonder Woman is there, but you’d rather hang out with “the rest of us.” Doesn’t that sound like fun?

A Letter to Reality Shows

I like you.  At least some of you.  Now we all know that you have the power to skew reality and thus making your shows only semi-reality, but I still like you.  I love watching relationships form. I hold my breath as the non trained take to the dance floor.  I cringe while gossip destroys.  I cheer when a new voice is discovered.  And I often cry, hearing the back story of a person’s life.

I love that you have discovered that peoples’ stories matter.  Chances are, you discovered that ratings are higher, when you give voice to a persons story, but, nonetheless, you share with us something so precious.

The other night, I came across one of your shows, The Voice.  I miss Cee Lo, by the way. Anyway, it is fun to watch the blind auditions, but it is the story before the song, that I love to know. Before the singers nervously take the stage for their hopeful big break, there is always a little bit piece that summarizes their life and how their life shaped them to pursue singing.  In the twenty minutes that I happened to be watching, two of the singers had lost a parent at a young age.  A few days later, I happened across another reality show, with a similar format, But the stories before the acts were similar. Every time a person shared their stories of parents lost, I cried.  As in, I for reals cried.

Now . . .  to try and explain why I was crying so hard.  I’m not completely sure myself, but I’m going to try and break it down.  First of all, it is so amazing to see kids and adults arrive on a national stage, with such a powerful story of loss, yet it is what pushed them and inspired them to reach for their dreams.  Oh, it makes me cry now.  One of the contestants was on a car trip, when her mom suddenly died of a heart attack while at a rest stop.  Her mom was always telling her she was going to be a singer.  And look at this young lady now.  She took what she knew of her mom and planted it into her heart and it grew until she was standing on stage, singing from the depths of pain and redemption with the most beautiful, soulful, joyful heart. Not two people later, a girl lost her dad at a young age.  Again, the depth of this young lady was tangible in her voice.  These real stories encourage me.  These stories remind me of a song by Crystal Lewis, that you will only have a slim shot at knowing, if you grew up going to youth group. It starts off with, “He gives beauty for ashes, strenth for fear, gladness for mourning, peace for despair.

Another possible reason for my tears, is that I know this pain, will be with us forever.  None of the constestants kept dry eyes while talking about their parents they had lost.  As ridiculous as it sounds, I still cry when I think about the last moments with my old golden retriever, Hudson, so I know there is no hope for me.  The crazy thing is, that these tears are not bitter.  They touch a warm tender spot that will remain warm and tender forever, but they remind me, that love never ends. Some of these contestants lost parents decades ago and yet, their eyes still well up with tears. What if that didn’t happen?  Now, that would be so sad.

In fact, this summer, I happened to be vacationing near the grave of my grandparents.  I never got the chance to know either of them.  My grandfather died when my dad was only 20.  I felt like I was on the Amazing Race as Leah and I attempted to locate the correct grave stone, but when we finally found it, a tender moment grew.  Underneath me, were two people who I knew loved me, even though I had never known them.  It was so strange.  When I texted my dad, and sent a couple pictures, he admitted to having tears in his eyes upon seeing them, even though his parents have been gone for decades.  See.  Love never ends.  And I love that.  And I love to know each person’s story, in real life and even on semi reality shows.

A Letter to Fellow Soccer Parents

I love many of you.  In fact, lots of you are some of my very best friends.  But a few of you (and I’m guessing you know who you are) can be downright obnoxious.  Yet you do it anyway.  You insist on inserting your voice into the game in ways that are at best embarrassing and at worst, downright disrespectful.

I realize that I am not always quiet on the sidelines.  I cheer.  I mutter.  I roll my eyes when the pre-pubescent referee seems to have eyes only for our team’s infractions.  I admit I have attempted to “coach” my kids in a game I have never played from the comfort of my folding chair.

And I have paid the price.

My kids have communicated, in no uncertain terms, their utter distaste for my uninformed, unsolicited, unwanted advice.  It is clear that my involvement in their game play will only hinder any forward progress in our relationship.

After learning the hard way, I have finally made peace with the fact that there is a system in place; an organizational sports hierarchy meant to keep everyone happy and healthy.  This hierarchy of referee, coach, player and team is time tested and nobody has invited me, the soccer mom, into the mix.  I can bring treats. I can support the players and the coach.  I can high-five an excited child and I can hug a defeated one.  I can even thank the referee, but I must remember what I’m there for and it’s not to cause a bigger stink.

So why, oh why do some of you insist on breaching the system?  Why must some of you yell in ways that are, quite frankly, unfit for little ears.

I can understand why you parents of younger children guide and shepherd your players from the sidelines.  Your tiny tykes hardly know their right foot from their left, let alone which way they are supposed to be running.  But those of us who have older kids, athletes who have been at this thing for a while, should know better.  Because it seems to me these maturing players know better.  They know the rules of the game.  They know roughly where they are supposed to be on the field.  And if they aren’t in position, rest assured their hot-under-the-collar coach will tell them.  Like my daughter’s coach says, “If I yell at you it doesn’t mean I’m mad, it means I’m trying to get your attention.”

So why, oh why must you try to get your child’s attention when his ears should be tuned to the coach and his eyes should be on the ball and the other players around him?

I understand the field of play can get rough.  Sometimes rougher than it needs to be.  But that’s what the referee is for.  News flash:  the ref has been trained for such things.  He or she has completed a course and often are players of the game themselves.  And, I hate to be the bearer of what I consider to be more than obvious news, but referees and coaches are, in fact, HUMAN.  They try their best, but they make mistakes.  And those mistakes are all part of the game.  All part of being human.

So let me ask you this — can’t we all just get along?  You know, for the kids.