I hear this repeat over and over in my head today. Stuck like a song heard right before I fall asleep that keeps playing as the new morning comes. It’s been coming at me for about a week now but I’ve been able to shrug it off in hopes it would disappear the busier and more consumed I became with “things” that needed to be done. I’ve read this verse and heard it at church and in my earlier quiet times but I do exactly the opposite of what it is calling to me do…


“Come to me”
“Sit with me”
“Those things are not important now”


Where are these words coming from that keep popping up in my head? As I hear them, I keep thinking there’s NO TIME! I have so much to do before the kids come home from school and SG wakes from her nap. Who has time to stop when there’s a house and a family to manage? Doesn’t that voice know that Coach works over 80 hours a week so the rest is up to me? So I keep rushing around getting laundry finished, dinner prepped and in the crock pot, checking Facebook and our team website just in case I miss any updates about the team so I can keep up with Coach. The dishwasher is clean again and Courtney’s volleyball uniform needs to be washed before her match tonight. Oh shoot, I’ve got a baby and wedding shower to help prep for and that’s right, Easter is at our house this year! Have I sold any Nerium lately? Keep gooooooooing, Angela.

But there’s that quiet voice again and before the lies of the Evil one can steal me away in busyness I hear,


“I’m waiting”
“You need rest”
“You cannot do this alone”
“Those things are not important”


So, I finally stopped, took my laptop out to blog and it feels so awkward. Maybe a little music will help. Maybe sitting outside will slow things down and help clear away the racing thoughts. A cup of tea always relaxes me but not today. Blogging has been an outlet for me this past year and something I feel The Lord has laid on my heart to do yet, I don’t do it enough to suit him I think. My body is exhausted and shakes from the non-stop week of volleyball matches, practices, doctor appointments, baseball games, and visitors that have been here. I don’t sleep when our life gets overly consuming with things like this so I’m sure that adds to the fatigue. And I’m too aware that what is happening is not good for me now. My body is fighting against the rush, the hurriedness, and the need to carry out everything on my todo list. I know that voice I keep hearing is right and there’s only one place I can find rest.

You see, I know this kind of lifestyle works for many people. My husband included. Coach can sleep 4 hours a night for a week straight and it does not affect him one bit. He can stay up late, go to work all day and then do it all over again without fail. At times it blows my mind. By the end of that run he usually hits a wall and passes out and sleeps about 10 hours after a long stretch of practices and games. But here’s what I’ve come to learn in my 13 years of marriage and 11 years of parenting, that kind of lifestyle does not work for me. I was a competitive athlete and coach since I was 9 years old, basking in the ups and downs and sleepless nights after losing or winning a game. The interviews, the traveling, the recruiting, you name it and I lived it. But The Lord decided 3 years ago that He had a new calling  for my heart after what I call a “spiritual awakening” aka, breakdown. I didn’t listen  when He told me to slow down and the rush, the perfectionism, the need to please, the never-ending to do list finally took its toll. Being married into this lifestyle can be crazy at times but I am going to learn to be that coach’s wife who balances rest with busyness. Well, at least I’m going to keep trying my very best.

The Bible places high value on rest and peaceful living. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He Himself escaped the busyness of the crowds occasionally to renew His strength. Mark 6:31 says, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to [His disciples], ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” It is difficult, if not impossible, for us to hear God’s still, quiet voice over the roar of the 21st-century crowds, so, like Jesus, we must make time to rest and hear from our Lord.

Believe me, as a stay at home mom I can get frustrated with the comments of, ” You have it so easy” and “What honestly do you do all day?” It’s equivalent to when people ask me if all Coach does is “coach?” There is so much more that goes into both of our jobs and until you walk down that path it’s hard to understand.
You would think staying at home would give me all the time in the world to rest and for some moms, maybe it does. For this lady, that list-maker, find another thing to say “yes” to mama, add another thing to my plate to help someone else out person, that is something I battle with daily, weekly, and monthly . I still carry the mentality of a coach and live and breathe with the 56-game schedule of the baseball coach I married. My oldest plays a spring sport, that I coach and LOVE ferociously so I ask God for grace during this stretch of the season when we’re all tired. My family sees me set the pace and lead by example. What kind of mom would I be if I set the standard of never slowing down and taking minute to collect myself in a place of quiet and rest? A tired one for sure.

Now it’s my turn to pray that I’ll listen better as he answers and tells me to slow down before exhaustion sets in. You see, God provides for us when we ask. Just like a coach, He is always ready to sit and listen and give when we are thirsty, overwhelmed, and tired. He mentors us, He guides us, He replenishes the empty. The world will beg for us to keep pushing, keep gutting it out, keep sucking it up and to do it all by ourselves. The timeout has already been called but it’s up to us to answer to His whistle.

Rain Outs in my Marriage Vows

It’s a rare Friday in March that I have with no kids and Coach is busy preparing at the field for a conference double-header that starts in just a few hours. Somehow we’re almost to the middle of the month and 9 days away from the first day of spring. January and February gave us some very unusual weather and saw days outside with no coats and not an inch of snow to be seen. Some would say what a blessing while others begrudgingly long for lazy snow days snuggled on the couch with kids,movies, and a warm cup of coffee that sits on top of a book they’ve sworn to read the first chance they got. I’m sitting at our local coffee shop with my laptop, my devotional and my journal waiting for words to just flood though my fingertips as I write this blog. I spent the first hour of the morning writing in silence and visiting with old and new friends. All the while feeling the amazing warmth that the sun has given to me through the huge open window directly in front of me. I’ve stopped a few times to admire the way it’s brightened up the street for a few moments then tucked itself back behind the clouds. March looks like 70 degrees today but the breath coming from passer-byers mouths gives way to a 40 degree reality.

March, UGH. What is the old adage? One of my favorites, Dwight from the office makes me laugh out loud in agreement. I found this off of Pintrest and had to share. I know other wives whose husbands coach outdoor sports knows this is the gospel.

This show, in its prime, was one thing that slowed Coach down enough to sit and watch!

So many days throughout the entire month of March vary from flip-flops back to winter clothes then back to sunglasses and shorts. Shew, I get whiplash just thinking about it and when you’re married to this kind of coach the weather station, weather app, weather everything goes everywhere we go. If there was a way I could set Coach’s alarm to wake him up with the day’s forecast it would already be done. My friends laugh at me because I know what days we can go to the park without coats and that in 4 days it’s supposed to rain. I know when it’s going to be windy and partly cloudy so bundle up the kids for our walk. I know this stuff days in advance come baseball season and to everyone else, it’s funny. To the McGuire family, it’s the norm.

Let me tell you though. Weather can bring out the worst in Coach and I’ve thought, my marriage vows should have included,

♥ “FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE, IN RICHER, IN POORER, IN SICKNESS AND HEALTH, AND FOR ALL THE DAYS IT RAINS AND SNOWS IN BASEBALL SEASON…I’LL STILL LOVE YOU!” ♥

Some days I laugh. But then there’s those occasional days he’s up at 4am checking every available weather station and phone app for a small opening of playable weather on an already rain forcasted day. The bed is already cold by 4:30 because he’s up thinking about Turface, a drying agent that helps soak up the water and if they have enough to make it through the amount of rain projected for the day. What do I do? Well, I get frustrated. Yes, I married into this job and to this guy but for someone like me who loves a warm thunderstorm laden day, you’d better believe I never say those words in front of Coach! Weather is uncontrollable and since moving to KY happened because of his job, I have decided that I’ll let weather win and maybe get a few snuggles with the girls and Coach (once he’s figured out how to relax!).

Today brings a double-header, a rarity on a conference weekend, which means tomorrow and Sunday are going to be off days. Now, Coach will probably recruit on Sunday and that’s okay because that’s part of the job. So we’ll take that brief pocket of “Coach-time” and even though the weather hasn’t brought the ideal game day situation, it brought us our ideal family time and we’ll celebrate the bad weather as a good thing…just for today!

Baby, check! OVC semis, check, check!

This is Gma! What a huge comfort she was that day and I was so happy that she got to watch her granddaughter be born!

Sometimes life events don’t always go as planned. Here I was checked into my hospital room on Friday May 22, 2015 with my mom who had been with me since Coach left for the tournament, by my side. My sister and her family were on the road heading to our house to stay with the girls and my dad was somewhere crossing the KY border on his way from IL. Coach was in Jackson, TN competing for MSU’s first OVC conference baseball championship and they had made it through the first round the day before I went into labor. My heart ached for two reasons that afternoon. One, I desperately wanted to watch his team compete for the championship. Coach had worked his tail off that year with those guys and even though I had not been calling the shots (OK, NONE of the shots) somehow I always feel like it’s part my team, too!  Secondly, having him there to hold my hand as we welcomed SG into the world wasn’t going to happen and it was tough. He had been there for our 3 other deliveries and deep down, my heart was still wishing he was here with me and not there. I never said it was an easy life. I just said it was OUR life!

When we found out I was pregnant in the fall of ’14 the due date was a simple reminder that even though there would be a baby making his or her arrival in late May, life would still be going on. And a busy one at that. McGuire events are typically planned out around baseball season. Ask our families, wink, wink! Weddings, baptisms, anniversaries, birthday parties, funerals…okay, so that’s a joke but you see where I am going with this. Let’s just say that if you want Coach to be in attendance at any of said planned events it had better be in November, December or mid-to-late July after the summer recruiting season is over. As the girls have gotten older I’ve come to realize just how easy it used to be to pack up on a Friday morning and head out on a 3-game road trip. Recently though, I’ve learned from dear friends that there is something called TRUANCY and it’s a real thing, lol! Guess it’s time to start paying attention to how many days of school the girls are missing. But listen truancy cops, Coach has a pretty cool job and if the girls want to see their dad we’re gonna have to take some “educational” trips now and then! I have a permanent note in my back pocket…:)

This guy keeps us on our toes but the love he has for not only his family but his team as well is astounding!

 

The two oldest girls are getting more involved so those weekend trips with the team are getting harder and harder to come by and  for this coach’s wife and biggest fan, that’s not always the easiest pill to swallow. You can judge all you want and say those kids are priority now and I’d often times say you’re right. But the truth is, I always tell our kids, “I knew your daddy long before I knew you and as much as I love you, I’ve loved him longer!” Seeing him out there doing something he has such a passion for inspires me and makes me so proud and this lady wants to be in the stands.

So anyhow, back to the real story. A baby was coming whether he could be there or not! I had my bags packed for about 2 weeks before she arrived and the arrangements for the kids were all taken care of. For once, I had it all together! There was much more nervousness this go-around then the times before and even though mom was a huge rock for me that day, I still missed having Coach there to hold my hand as this all went down. We got situated and sent messages back and forth a few times during pre-game meal and then again after batting practice. My OB had not arrived as quickly as she had thought so there was a lot of downtime as we waited for things to really start moving with the delivery. Deep down I know this little nugget knew that mama wanted to watch dad’s game on the computer so she was taking her own sweet time.

As the day turned into evening the calmness I had arrived to the hospital with was replaced by anxiousness. If you know me I don’t always do heavy situations very well. I tend to laugh at the wrong times to make people feel more comfortable about the size of a situation or use a distraction mechanism to divert attention away from the real matter at hand. While there was nothing raising a red flag with SG’s pregnancy, I was beyond nervous and wanted to keep that a secret from everyone in the room. Having lost a daughter in utero it was always in the back of my mind that something could go wrong so this time, whatever I could use to distract me was a blessing. That evening, it was Coach’s game.

I was pretty rested as the evening started and Coach’s team began play around 7pm. We were in the semis and the Eagle’s had literally made quick work of everyone they had faced up to that point. It was a story book kind of year and bringing SG into the world would only add to it. There was nothing to call home about with the delivery and things were moving pretty on schedule and routine. Mom text Coach every time there was a change but as we watched the game unfold and knew it was going to end in our Eagle’s favor, I knew we were about to have a baby….

The team had charged the mound, the last out was called, and out she came. Ok, well it wasn’t that simple but it almost was. I was mid-push while Mike was doing his post-game interview and even though I could barely hear him the voice I heard while I had my eyes closed was still him talking baseball and it felt like he was right there. Within minutes there she was. All 10 toes and all 10 fingers and bore a striking resemblance to her older sisters. It was surreal to say the least.

Now let me be honest before we get all mushy and I get those, “I would never let my husband not be there when his baby is being born” comments! This was probably one of the hardest things for me to have to do. I miss the guy every second of his away trips and every second of him not being in the delivery room with me that day was hard. I missed him not getting to hold his child for the first time as soon as she was born and I missed watching him fall in love with us all over again. I missed him. It was hard and no matter what, him not being there will always be hard but, I’ve also learned that some things in life just cannot be planned and this was one of them.

Within  24 hours of our daughter’s birth the Eagle’s claimed their first OVC championship since 1993.

Coach and his championship team.

It was a landslide victory and me, my mom, and SG were all together in the hospital watching it unfold. It had been that kind of year for the McGuire family and to witness the miracle of a birth and watch the work that Coach had put in with this team and all the others he had coached in his 20 plus career seasons, is something I’ll never forget. There are bonuses to being a coach’s wife and that is getting to meet and grow to love a lot of the player’s parents over the course of a season and a career. One particular mom sent a picture of Coach just moments after seeing a picture of his daughter for the first time.

This was coach and one of his seniors just a few moments after getting off the bus from their semi-final win. He had just gotten a picture from my mom of SG.

I couldn’t hug him, or kiss him, or be right there in that moment with him but in that very second, a picture was worth a thousand words as the smile he wore showed every emotion that man could carry.

Life isn’t always easy. Most of the time it’s hardly planned. And it’s sometimes even a little messy. But inside those parts are the joys, the big pockets of love, and the belief that everything happens for a reason. We chase after dreams and sometimes we catch them and sometimes they catch us! And although it hasn’t always been perfect, this life, as unscripted as it possibly could be, gives us more than we ever deserve.

Love you, Coach!

My Tribe

I move. Plain and simple. It’s been part of my life since I packed up and moved 12 hours from home for college. I “visited’ for 2 years then headed back up north from Alabama to Illinois to finish up college near my sister at the University of St. Francis. I played volleyball all four years of college so traveling was part of the atmosphere at both schools. It became an innate part of my soul and upon graduation from USF the itch began again. Without hesitation, my car hit the highway and off I went heading to South Carolina for my first career: college volleyball coach. For many who don’t know, college coaches don’t tend to stay in one place more than a few years and I wasn’t going to be one to go against that mantra. After 9 months I took another job, just two hours up the road and it was there that I met Coach and the moving really began. We got married and had Courtney less than a year after we started dating and moved a month before our first anniversary for a baseball job in Rock Hill, South Carolina. If you know me my heart still resides in SC and even though we have moved twice since living there, I still consider the south as one of the best places I’ve ever lived with some of my favorite people.

In all those moves, we packed up possessions, changed doctors, changed bank accounts, purged junk, (Praise God!), and many other things. Those things  were all normal. Anyone who has moved knows that when it’s time to go those are all things that just have to happen.
What we forget about is that when we pack up those houses and look through memories of our time spent there, we sometimes forget  that  it isn’t just a town, a school, a team, that we leave behind. It’s those people that we’ve come to share our brief existence with while we were planted there that we’ll miss. Our hearts split and sadly, friendships have only one of two ways to go. It’s been said that when you are the one who packs up and moves away your life is the one that changes, not the ones who stay planted. There are those lucky ones that you come into contact with that you never forget. The ones that pierce your heart and touch places in your soul you never knew you had. The ones that leave impressions that last your whole life through no matter where or how long you’ve known them.  If you’re lucky enough you find a few of them in your lifetime.
They are your TRIBE.
Going back a few years…I considered myself the type who would rather spend time with a group of guys then listen to all the “drama” and “girly” stuff when I was high school. I even found that statement to be true as I got into college and

We are meant to love, encourage, bless our friends and family.
We are meant to love, encourage, bless our friends and family.

then some. There wasn’t enough time in the day to worry about my feelings or take time to learn about another girl when I had volleyball to play.  But, as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize that I wasn’t running away or even dislike those girls, I was running away from myself and how I worried about what they thought about me. (Whoa, even that knocked me over once I realized it to be true). Now it’s through women that I’ve learned the very deepest parts of who I am!

We are built to be in relationships and to have community. We were designed by God to have a TRIBE. Whether it be female or male, we are built for connection. It is through connection that we can endure the trials of

He waits for us to come to Him first.
He waits for us to come to Him first.

suffering. When we go at it alone and try to do it by ourselves, we forget about the necessary encouragement, compassion, and empathy that can be supplied by someone who says, “I get it, I’ve been down in that pit. Let me sit with you awhile and remind you how great you are.” Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a former athlete and coach. There are times we have to mentally push through falls and remember that we don’t need to be picked up every time. That’s God’s job and our job to seek Him out during those down times. He is there when it get too hard to go it alone and believe it or not, He’s waiting and watching and hoping you’ll seek him before anything and anyone else. On the flip-side, we are HUMAN! Having our friends is of the utmost importance as well as we get through our daily grind. Their physical presence can change a mood, a thought, a feeling in a split second.

We are built to celebrate together and one another.  Players on a court, field, wherever, can’t stand there and celebrate all by themselves (and look normal). No, they turn and immediately find each other. They jump, hug, scream, pick each other up and then fall to the ground.  And it happens TOGETHER. That’s exactly what God wants us to do. Fellowship ignites desires inside us that produces results bigger then any of us individually could carry out. (I’m a team sports kind of gal!)

We become less me and more we when we find those people who would run through a brick wall for us. When they pray for us. When they come over at 3am because you need someone to talk to or have a sick baby and your hubby is 10 hours away. They are there to celebrate your kid’s achievements as if they were their own. They bring your dinner after your baby is born. They visit you in the hospital when you feel like your world is falling apart. They call when they’ve watched your husband win a huge game and are just as excited as you are! They peel potatoes for you when you’re running late from practice just because they know it will help speed up your dinner prep. They do because that’s who they are.

I’ve been in Morehead for almost 5 years and while my tribe has changed faces, grown during certain seasons than decreased during others, the purpose and love of those women during certain moments in my life has taught me what unconditional love means and how we cannot be afraid to need others in our lives as well. We should not feel guilty for not being “strong” enough to do it alone…we should not feel weak for wanting help…we should feel proud that we are willing to be open and honest with each other and just like a team, it’s always better together!

Hotels, Hot Pockets, and Happiness

Here I am back at the airport in Jackson after a pretty crummy night of sleep. Lucky for everyone here I get to wear that same clothes I wore to cheer on my Eagles in 84 degree heat yesterday. Luckily, the hotel had a $3.00 toothbrush and toothpaste set available upon request so at least my breath isn’t traumatizing for anyone who gets the chance to sit by me on my 6:20am flight. Hmmmm…Luck!

So, no matter how many alarms I set or wake up calls asked for my crazy mind continually makes me think that I’m going to sleep right through them and miss my flight! I am thankful this morning that American Airlines footed the bill for a king-sized bed and somewhere to safely rest my head for a few hours after mechanical issues kept me from making it home to Morehead last night. But, I’m not going to lie, when the woman at the check-in counter looked me in the face as I watched the last person go through the boarding area and said, “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but there is no way you’re going to be able make that connection in Dallas,” my anxiousness came ahead full speed. I am an anxious person by nature so when I thought about Coach being 110 miles north of me on a charter bus bound for Starkville, MS and no baseball parents here in town that I could bunk up with, I started to feel panicky. Regardless of the excitement that comes with traveling there is always, always a feeling of overwhelming worry that comes with being stranded in an unfamiliar place with only a few things to my name! At that moment all I wanted was my “team” with me to help.

All of my current possessions at this moment!

Maybe it was the fact that it was 9pm and I was inside my hotel room with the door dead bolted with just a hot pocket and bag of chips to my name that made me feel lonely. I’ve beaten my butt to eat right and get my work outs in with Beach body the past week but tonight, the will power to find something half-way healthy was not a priority nor something that my Beach body coach would be proud of. The great thing is that I know she’d tell me that sometimes life is just life and no matter what you have to do what you have to do! WORD!

As I got “ready” for bed I cleaned up what was scattered on the bed, bushed my teeth, and found a comfortable place before drifting off to sleep. The alarm didn’t need to wake me up this morning because I’d been up 4-5 times throughout the night in anticipation of it going off. I text Coach and my mom before getting downstairs to the lobby then I had an incredibly nice and chatty shuttle driver bring me back to the airport. For 4:45 in the morning this guy was a breath of fresh air. It was in that moment that I realized that although I may have felt alone physically, I had a team with me and cheering for me all along.

As I sit here writing this and thinking over the past 15 hours and all the things that went wrong, I’ve realized that while yes, it has been hard, I was never alone. We forget that don’t we? We forget that people genuinely want to help us out and don’t mind but, we don’t ask. We don’t ask…hmmmm. Why did we stop asking and begin to think we have to do it all on our own? That’s definitely something I am going to think about down the road. But that’s not today’s journey!My teammates came in all forms. It was the woman at the counter who sympathized about the cancelled flight and stayed 25 minutes after she was supposed to be home with her family to get me a new ticket, check me in for my flight today so I wouldn’t have to be here so early, booked my hotel, called transportation and did it all with a patient and understanding disposition. Wow! Teammate!

It was the shuttle driver who called before coming to make sure he knew where I would be and got me back to the hotel in one piece. I was stuck in an unknown place and without a ride so he was a huge help. Teammate!

It was my mom who had already kept my kids for 4 days and without hesitation voluntarily offered to stay another day so the kids would not have to deal with a sitter. If I had gotten home last night she would be heading home early today. But due to the current circumstances I now get to have almost a whole day with her. Something that I covet since I never know when it will be that I get to see her during this busy season and the 6-hour drive between us. Teammate!

It was my best friend of 10 years, Logan, who, when found out I would have a layover in Charlotte for 2 hours volunteered to be a friendly face and drive up to see me with her two kids. Didn’t balk at the 35 minute drive on her kid’s day off from school nor think about the fact she’d probably have to get up earlier than normal to see me. I haven’t seen her in almost two years but she knew that a chance like this wouldn’t happen again. Had my flight gotten me home last night our time apart would have grown even more. Teammate!

And then there was Coach. The man sure gets me now. I remember texting him as I was waiting for my shuttle asking, “Is it okay to cry now?” A few years ago a comment may have come that reminded me how tough I am and that it’ll be okay. But not this time. This time was different. Maybe he’s softened up a bit as the years has grown and strengthened our relationship. Maybe the pains and growth, losses and gains has allowed for a new vision into who we really are together. Time has given him patience with me and a love that I am exactly perfect for him flaws and all. When the text came back saying, “Yes!” I choked back a few tears and felt the overwhelming love and acceptance and peace that Coach understood and had my back. Coach!

Out of the dugout they ran when I needed them the most! I had my gang and I knew that even though it felt like a lonely night at the airport hotel, my team was supporting me through it all.

We were never meant to walk this journey of life alone! We all need help and should never feel bad about asking!

Opening Weekend

Opening weekend with Coach on the road has come and gone. Last Wednesday he and the team took off for Mississippi at 7am while the girls were still asleep. Those moments are so bittersweet for all the women in the house because Coach is our guy! Up and out of the house before they get to say goodbye will never be easy for me or for him and just tonight, my oldest, Courtney asked when she will get to see her dad again. I understand the profession and I am so comforted that she wants to see him but it can still break my heart that being a D1 head coach means long trips and missed milestones and moments in their lives.

I was blessed that I was able to make the trip with Coach this time. We’ve been married for almost 13 years and with the exception of the weekend he flew with Winthrop to UCLA back in 2007 (I was a week away from delivering our 2nd, Sydney) I’ve never missed opening weekend. It’s sort of our “thing”. Opening weekend holds so much excitement and anticipation that even the girls are starting to sense a difference in the house and in Coach as the first game of the season approaches. I get the very best and the very worst of my guy as nerves and unspoken worries unveil themselves. I try to explain to so many parents that even though he gets to write the lineup and get credit for a win or a loss, he is just as real and normal as the next guy. Just ask the girls. The week before we were all sitting at our kitchen table engaged in a riveting game of Mancala then immediately afterwards, Trouble. Board games are a must in our house and Coach is the king of them. He isn’t always home because of late night practices and team meetings but when he is, the happiness and peace that exists because he is there reminds me that we’re really nailing this parenting and marriage thing (..well, most of the time) and truly enjoy the simple moments life brings us!

Mississippi wasn’t what most people would call successful because the team dropped two games Saturday while pulling out wins the first and last days of the trip. Yet, success in my opinion has changed the longer I’ve been married to this guy. Being a former coach myself  I’d like to think I can read into the results a little differently then some wives. I see the progress and steady improvements and even hear bits and pieces in the small conversations I get to have with Coach after the losses and longer ones after the wins! Those moments hold so much importance to me and allows me to navigate through his emotions before he’s really ready to talk. I get to hear the passion he has for this group of guys and the belief he carries that they are capable of winning it all! His vision far exceeds a 2-2 weekend and in his heart, Regionals may be 3 months away but he knows exactly the path his team needs to take in order to see that his team is ready for the very moment it arrives. It’s his passion that makes him amazing and reminds me every day how very blessed I am to be on this ride. He loves every group of guys just as fiercely as he loves me, his girls, and his life.

A 2-2 weekend means, just as in life, tomorrow you start all over again and get another chance to get it right! Not perfect, just another try.

 

I’ll fly home tonight and get to hug my girls and thank my mom for staying these days with the kids while he heads to another game on Tuesday. We won’t see him until around 5am on Wednesday morning. Most likely he’ll roll in as I’m getting the girls up for school and getting breakfast made for our youngest. I know he’ll be exhausted from a 9 hour bus trip and ready for bed. But tonight, as I board the plane thinking about how lucky I am to be living this life, I am more grateful that no matter how difficult his being away during these three months can be, I know that at the end of the day, being with me and the girls is truly where his heart will always be. Being a coach is what he dreamed of all his life but being a husband and a dad has been his true calling!
Sweet dreams, Coach!

http://www.msueagles.com/news/2017/2/19/baseball-wins-behind-one-hitter-from-humphreys-and-calderon.aspx

It’s Time to Slow Down

There has been a good amount of time between my last post and today. It honestly took a night of two beers (judgers beware) and too much to eat that literally my butt got kicked. Now I am out for the day, I finally believed I had the time to write. Without going into much detail I have not moved from my bed in the last 4 hours because of the fear of what will happen.  I even attempted to walk outside since the weather hit a high of 63 degrees in the middle of January but, after a quarter of a mile I had to throw in the towel. I don’t drink, at least nothing more than a glass of wine in a great blue moon. So call it a hangover, call it food poisoning, call it the flu. Whatever it was caused me a day in bed and a chance to purge.

Here’s what I realized after lying in bed for two hours and wondering who will get Courtney to basketball? How will I make the after school meeting for Sydney? Sarah has been with a friend of mine so then I know I’m going to “have” to start feeling better when Mike picks her up. Will I feel well enough to take in the  MSU Men’s Basketball team this evening? I really want to support them and the newest coach and his wife who have become good friends of ours.  I canceled the Mom’s group I host every Thursday  because of how crappy I felt. The list just kept on going. Who, What, Where, When, and How? I felt like a journalism student back in college all over again. My mind was so filled with a to-do list a mile long that I couldn’t even fall asleep in hopes of shaking this thing. Riddled with anxiety and shame for maybe having a drink that could have caused a day down, I cried. Guilt and shame and anger are dangerous enemies of a mom and today, and among other days, I fell victim to them.

What happened next as I thought about all of those things that needed to get done (shoot, the dishwasher is dirty and there is a sink full of dishes), stood out to me in such a way it was scary.

I wondered, “When did I stop talking care of myself and asking for what I NEED as often as others ask for things from me? And why is guilt and shame and especially selfishness attached to those thoughts?”

Of course I did what any homebound mom of three who doesn’t feel well does (well at least I do), I Googled Mom Guilt and Shame. I read mom’s posting it on Facebook so often so being the very introspective person I am, I read. So many moms can understand this deep sense of paralysis when it comes to making a decision that may make US happy or takes away time for ourselves but potentially will from something away from our kids or spouses. Don’t worry, my husband has already heard this a few times and I’m not upset now that I ask him for help; that I am asking him to be the other parent in this equation. His job, as busy as it may be at this time of the year (Did I mention 56 games in 3 months? Do the math, that’s a lot of single-parenting days), is just a job. We, and yes I mean that plural, did not always see it that way.  But without starting a whole new blog, I’ll keep to my current thoughts.
Some mommas out there might rock the ability to say no to that late-for-school-braid-that-has-to-be-done or the where-is-that-note-that-was-supposed-to-be-signed-a-week-ago-and-is-due-yesterday and geez mom, the teacher always looks at me when she says to tell your parents they aren’t making more copies if you lose it. Dagger to the heart right there, lol! But, I have grown to learn, to hate, and to feel guilty, that I am not that mom. Notice there was no appreciate or love involved in that text. I overextend, say yes when I’m eating a hot meal so they are taken care of, cry when I can’t fix every damn thing in the world for my kids, you name it.
Boy oh boy I can hear those chirps now.
“It’s your fault that you cannot say no. Just do it!”
“They have to learn to struggle and hurt and go without.”
“You’ll regret that you didn’t just tell them to, ‘Stop, I don’t want to hear another word. What I say goes.'”
“Stop giving her the option!” (That’s my favorite)

The list of suggestions and ways to raise my kids has led me down a path of information overload. A path that has made me all-consumed with figuring out the “best” way to handle things. A path that has not included, yep, my interests. I am what you would call easily swayed. I can remember back in 2007 when the newest flu epidemic came out and all the news broadcasters said that it could potentially devastate this country like the plague did over 100 years ago. I called my Dad for confirmation and/or reassurance and after receiving little of either, I just sucked it up and tried to put the fear into my back pocket and ride it out like I did with most things the media or people tried to feed me.

I guess where I am going with all of this is that I am not as strong as I think I am when it comes to parenting. And I’m ok with that. My children do not need to see a  mom who has all her “shit” together nor do they need to see a dad that way as well. It isn’t fair. In doing so we raise kids who try to be tougher then they know how to be because “Suck it up” and “Is it really worth crying over?” has become our society’s way of handling the hard things in life. Where do these problems and pains go once we’ve sucked it up and suppressed our tears? Where do the answers they so desperately long for come from if not from us?  Every child is different, even that “child” who is 37 years old. We ALL need different things in our lives and I fear that we are not allowing our children to feel vulnerable or need space. Three different daughters in my house and each one of them need different things from me.

There is one of me and one of dad. If they each need to have their own space, interests, quiet moments, fighting, moments where they need to be heard and times where they just need a hug, then why has it gone to the way side that just like our kids, mom’s need the same. And instead of fighting for everyone to do it a certain way, a way that honestly, might not work, we need to allow room for all of us to find ourselves without being shamed, guilted, or judged for trying our very best.

 

Grace

There they were. Uninvited, as most things had been that early fall of 2014. Our house was quiet as the girls were still at school and I had not yet been out of the hospital a month as Mike and I shared an uncharacteristic day at home together. Barely able to stand on my own two feet I had to sit down as he attempted to wrap his arms around me. With everything he had inside of him, the strength he tried to give to me that afternoon would prove not enough at that moment in our marriage and I was terrified. I tried to avoid this happening for a better part of the past 4 years but no amount of praying or wishing for a different outcome would make what I believed, at that moment in my life to be one of the hardest things to face. My heart had closed off that part of itself and trying to convince myself I was truly ready to walk this journey was not what I wanted to do. It was at that moment that the grief I had never let myself experience over the loss of Caroline, didn’t ask, didn’t care, didn’t wait til I was ready, unpacked its bag and moved right on in.

I was pregnant…

Those two pink lines stared up at me and like two uninvited guests, they had made residence inside of the mind of a person who had not had enough time to reason with her old self that she was ready for this. There was still so much to do and so much to carry out. I was still trying to work on getting the girls raised and taking care of Mike. I was successful in my new job and had even decided just two months before to stay at home to focus solely on growing it. The thoughts  of I had plans. It was MY TURN. I had already given up so much swirled out of control in my mind and to be honest, I barely remember anything Mike tried to say to calm my anxious thoughts. It was just too much and as I sat there in tears, I felt everything inside of me break and unintentionally, I fell apart.

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Those following weeks I lost myself in more ways than I can count. Looking back now I barely remember and even wonder how I was able to make it though those sleepless nights, recurring panic attacks, and uncontrollable bouts of fear, sadness, loneliness, and anger. The pain I endured those 8 months while also watching my family and friends worry constantly for me was exhausting on an already overly tired body. I wanted nothing more than to just be still and feel healed, but just when I needed God the most I closed my heart once again. While the idea of calling out to Him should have been the most important thing I could have done it became the last thing I ever wanted. I was angry at God for taking my daughter exactly 4 years before and now in my mind, He was the one who opened the door for the grief I had avoided all those years to walk right back in.  I didn’t see it then but as the days grew longer and her heartbeat grew stronger with every passing day, there WAS a plan He had prepared me for. That plan was about Sarah and the GRACE she would bring to my life.

 “This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’

Jeremiah 33:3

Sarah Grace McGuire was born May 22, 2015 at 11:50pm. After a very uncomplicated and uneventful birth, she came out crying, a sound I had longed to hear for months. All 10 fingers, toes, and none of the physical impairments I had worried about every day for the past 9 months of carrying her. It seemed like such a careless worry but after losing Caroline, it seemed to be the constant question at every appointment and no matter how much reassurance the doctors could give, it was never enough until the day I held her in my arms.

Sydney has an uncanny ability to make Sarah laugh harder then anyone else. The bond is unmistakeable.
Sydney has an uncanny ability to make Sarah laugh harder than anyone else. The bond is unmistakable.

She looked just like her sister, Sydney, and as she has grown she is everything I ever imagined she would be. Her sisters have fallen in love with her and all of her quirks and even though this pregnancy was unexpected, we have learned that there was nothing unexpected about why God chose us to be her family. Her life has brought us all unspeakable joy, something I wasn’t sure I’d find again in the light of a child. We were given GRACE with this child…something we didn’t deserve but something God had woven into our story long before we even knew it.

Her bright smile can make your heart bubble over with happiness and contentment.
Her bright smile can make your heart bubble over with happiness and contentment.

And while we are still adjusting to a life of five, there is no handbook, no perfect ways, and no understanding of how this is supposed to go.

There is only a love that has come through grief, hope, and grace.

The game must go on

The silence has brought me to His voice…”

When we left for the hospital 6 years ago there was no car seat or fully packed diaper bag in tow. A nursery was left behind, incomplete, and two little girls couldn’t quite understand why their baby sister would never make it home to see them in this lifetime.  We walked through those hospital doors, hand in hand, with knowing eyes following and  just the sheer will to get through the next few days together. I had no idea that the road I would go down would bring me to this place I find myself today. I had no idea why a good God would allow for such an intolerable act to take place.

BUT……

 In the middle of that heartache. At every lonely, dark, lost moment…the Truth. That in those moments, even then, especially then… we are held, held up, held together, by the the One who has walked here and knows the pain, and who also holds all of time, every story, my story, your story, the Greatest Story in his hands.

Just a few days ago my 9 year old asked me how old Caroline would be if she were still alive. For a moment I hesitated to answer simply because I realized I had not thought of her in quite awhile.  With a calm voice I asked her what made her think of her sister after so many years and without a delay, she simply said, I just wanted to know.

I walked out of her room that night realizing that grief doesn’t affect us all the same nor does it hit us all at the same time. The night we delivered Caroline, Mike and I had no earthy idea what to do next. After they took her from our room and finished the remaining procedures left to do after a routine delivery, it was silent. Eerily silent. No machines beeping, no nurses talking, no family buzzing around, and…no baby crying. For the first time in my life, I felt utterly and completely alone. Even with Mike next to me, my mind was exhausted and my heart was numb. Grief never knocked on my door. It never sent a letter asking when it could come visit. It didn’t even send me a save the date. Grief had its own agenda and when it was time for its arrival, I just wasn’t ready. In the silence, I longed to hear God’s voice but it was quiet.

Who holds the mother who just lost her daughter? Who wipes her tears for a child lost? Who comforts her broken heart? For years I wondered that very thing until the night Sydney asked me about her sister whom she never met. As I teach my children about their faith and how The Lord giveth and He taketh away, I am comforted knowing that my sweet Caroline Grace’s eternal glory has been secured with a loving Father who He himself suffered the agony of losing his son. My loss here on earth has given way to a story of how God used my daughter to bring me, my husband, and my children into a closer relationship with Him. I grew to know that it was HE who wiped my tears. That HE comforted me. HE held me

1 Peter 5:10   
The God of all grace after you have suffered a while will strengthen, perfect, establish, and settle you.

It has taken me 6 years to fully grieve for a child I never knew and some days, like a wave, it hits again. I grieve for a  child I never held. I grieve for a child whose name is engraved just below her uncle’s,  whom I can only imagine walks with her and makes her laugh in the same way he used to make me laugh. Maybe he is even giving her piggy back rides like he used to give me when we were younger. A joke here and there and even a long walk (we used to drive) as they talk about how excited they are to meet us again someday. There are plenty of days I sit in the silence and ask God to help me understand and to teach me to be patient as my story unfolds. I pray for perseverance in my walk with him and patience as he breaks me over and over and over again. I feel Him in my loneliest days and I see Him working in and around my life through my family and my friends. His words astound me but if I don’t stop long enough, watch all that is happening around me, even in the pain and the chaos and listen in the silence, I will miss the chance to hear his voice. A voice that through heartache and pain, love and guidance, life and death has brought me to this place…a place to find myself again and all the He wants me to be.

 

Sisterhood of the Coach’s Wives

1. Our husbands work 7 days a week.
2. We tend to move a lot.
3. We don’t always get to spend holidays with our families.
4. We don’t attend weddings that happen during the season…Sorry!
5. It’s hard not to take negative comments from fans personally.
6. We are independent and awesome!
7. We become depressed after losses.
8. We are proud of our husbands- win or lose.
9. We are a sisterhood, and are damn proud to be coaches wives!

The Coach's Wives
Victoria, me, and Alyson