Beatitudes of my life

Being grateful for everything in my life…. no matter what…

My two greatest blessings April 28, 2014

Filed under: Blessings,Family,Lacrosse,Life Balance,Parenting,Sports — beatitudesofmylife @ 10:48 am

Ten years ago, I never would have imagined the scenes that have been playing out over the past two years.  My boys were 12 and 14 years old and they hardly interacted… at least not voluntarily… it was as if they had nothing in common.  D was in the band and becoming more involved every week, school was “boring”, and he seemed  happier playing video games than going outside to play with ‘the three dimensional people’.  E was starting to play lacrosse (after four years of Association football) and totally rocking the sport, loved being challenged with anything academic, and would bring home friends at the drop of a hat.  They were friendly with each other, but I don’t know that either would have said that they’d go out of their way to spend more time together.  They loved sports and had that in common, but didn’t seem to enjoy one another very much… and they certainly didn’t look for opportunities where they’d spend more time together.  While they didn’t fight, they also didn’t seem to be “friends”… which was our original hope when they were young.

Something started to change when they were both in High School.  D went to our “home” high school, immersed himself in “all things band” (marching, concert, orchestra, pep, stage, and jazz bands), challenged himself academically when absolutely necessary, and did what he needed to do to get into college.  E chose to challenge himself immediately by selecting one of the more difficult (imho) HS opportunities (he chose the Math/Science HS in our county), he tried out for (and MADE) a select lacrosse travel program, and pushed himself academically so he’d be able to have his pick when it came to colleges.  Still… they had their love of sports in common, which proved to be the bond that has drawn them ever closer.

D saw how much lacrosse meant to E… and E saw how much band meant to D.  I’m no psychology major, but I believe that they both started to recognize the same drive in one another… the passion that made their activities so special to them.  While they might have blown off things in the past, they were starting to join us to support one another… it was a great thing to see.

I’m not saying that they became one another’s biggest supporters overnight, but I do believe that they have each learned valuable lessons from the choices made by the other.

When D went away to college, he chose to be a Varsity Athlete (in lacrosse) and then was selected to be a Resident Advisor for three of his four undergrad years.  He dealt with a horrendous coaching situation with more grace than I could possibly muster.  He selected a major that ended up being a mistake but followed through, got his degree, and is now working toward a Masters in Athletic Training.  He’s been assigned to some amazing programs within his Masters program and will be working at USNA this coming fall… to say we are proud of him would be an understatement.  He is creating a life in which he can work and be happy, which is the one thing for which every parent prays.  He’s becoming a man upon whom others rely… he’s becoming his father… which is such a blessing to see.

When E went away to college, he chose a school (6-hours away) that wanted him for his lacrosse skills as well as his academic abilities.  He was initially happy to be one of the “smarter” guys on campus, but he quickly realized that he needed to change his educational direction if he was going to ultimately be successful.  He transferred to a school closer to home and started working on creating that work/life balance by focusing on his academic career while creating his own athletic challenges.  He worked to get accepted into a demanding program and then worked harder to stand out in a sea of qualified applicants to accept an offer for a job after college.  E’s happily taken on roles within his athletic life that have given him consistently greater responsibilities and allowed him to recognize how he wants to live after graduation.  He too, is becoming a man upon others rely… just like his older brother… and just like his father.  How could I feel anything other than blessed?20140428-114800.jpg

My darling husband would argue that *we* are each other’s greatest blessings but, after M, I really must insist that my two greatest blessings are my boys, D and E. Before you delete this post and chalk my message as a simple brag on what a great job M/I did as parents, let me say that I am definitely *not* bragging… I am absolutely astounded at the incredible men we have raised and wanted to share that with you on this post.  They haven’t been “brainwashed” into being each other’s biggest supporters, but they’ve become that on their own.  This past weekend, D drove a round-trip of five+ hours to see his brother play in a two-hour lacrosse game… because it was important to be there to support E.  I can only imagine how E will return the favor when he has graduated from college and has a car of his own.

I started this blog as a way to give credence to the many blessings of my life. I recognize that not everything in my life is seen by others as a blessing, but looking at the young adults pictured here, I cannot help but be reminded of every single reason I have for all the good in the world.

 

 

My son is following his dream June 2, 2013

My son is following his dream of becoming an Athletic Trainer and I couldn’t be more proud of him.   I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “if you have a job doing what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”… my son is following his heart and working to create a life doing what he loves.   263261_10151694159717953_1650604499_n

I joked with other parents at his college graduation last year when recounting the months prior to that momentous day.  D had announced, six months before graduation, that he didn’t want to major in Chemistry.  His chemistry professors totally understood when I told them that, to reach my son, they would need to connect things to sports.  This past year, since graduating from college, has found D at home, but rarely ever actually “at” home.   His year “off” centered around coaching swim team, taking 5 prerequisite classes (from Biology to Anatomy/Physiology), lifeguarding, working out, coaching HS and youth lacrosse, playing lacrosse with a local men’s league, and becoming a lacrosse referee… there was very little down time spent at home.  It was a year that was chaotic, busy, challenging, and wonderful… but now he’s gone again and inexplicably, I miss him.

I am learning to offer phone numbers to my son, rather than offering to make calls on his behalf.  I am learning to trust that “he’s got this”, when he’s not choosing to share his school information.  I have great faith in my son and am slowly learning to let go.

I have great faith in D.  He’s grown into such a wonderfully capable young man and I know he’s following the right path for his future.  He knows that we’ll always be here for him, but this is *his* time to go out on his own and create a life for himself.  I only hope that I am equal to the task of letting him create that life without our input.

I bristle at those who tell me to “cut the apron strings”.  A lifetime of helping him navigate through the challenges of growing up cannot be undone simply because he’s 23 years old.   I know that I cannot make his dream come true… nor do I want to do it for him.  I know we probably did him a disservice when he went away to undergrad because we still handled so much *for* him, but in true D-style, he forged his own path, ultimately making peace with situations that still remain beyond my abilities.  He’s one smart cookie.  My son is strong… he is kind… he is responsible… and he is fun.  He’s grown into a young man I both respect and trust.  He has started his new career at a University that offers one of only 13 programs in the country… and he did this all on his own.

My son is following his dream… and I can only offer him my love, respect, and prayers.  He’s going to make an amazing Athletic Trainer someday and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

 

How important is it to support kids after HS? April 15, 2013

Filed under: Blessings,Family,Lacrosse,Life Balance,Parenting,Sports — beatitudesofmylife @ 10:17 am

DSC_9639 How important is it to support our kids and their various activities after HS?  I think it’s VERY important!  This idea was really brought home to me this weekend when UVA’s club lacrosse team played in the Beltway Bash in College Park.

There were two tiers of teams from all over the place… there were tons of players on each of these teams… and yet there were an astonishingly small number of fans/parents.  Maybe they felt that this wasn’t a big enough tournament to warrant their attendance.  Maybe they didn’t have enough vacation time to be able to attend.  Maybe their player didn’t let his parents know with enough lead time to be able to make arrangements for other siblings or work events.    Whatever the case, the teams didn’t seem to have a large contingent of fans following them… and that really surprised me.

Am I that much of a 60’s throwback parent that it doesn’t even occur to me not to follow my son’s game schedule?   When both our boys were playing college lacrosse, we would make some unbelievable drives.  One particularly interesting jaunt was traveling to Greensburg PA for a noon lacrosse game for E before getting back in the car to make it to a 7PM lacrosse game for D in Washington DC.  Thankfully, both my boys expressed their appreciation but are there parents who wait for their kids ask for their attendance before they’ll make the effort?

I’ve lately been hearing a lot of people mentioning how excited they are for their child to turn 18 because they’ll be adults and not need their parents anymore… in some cases, parents are joking (at least, I hope they are joking) that their kids are “out” as soon as they turn 18.   Honestly, I would never even think of making this statement… and would never make it in front of my boys.  In my mind, voicing those comments just seem to make them seem that much more “plausible” and I would never want my boys to think that we won’t be there to support them, no matter what they are doing.

So, yes… I’ll always be that parent on the sidelines.  I’ll have my camera in hand, especially since it gives me closer access to the field and helps me keep from yelling during the game, but I’ll always be there.  I’ll be there to congratulate the team after the game and cheer them on before the next one.   I’ll be present in the lives of my children… no matter how old they are… because they are my boys…

I’m planning to shoot at least one game this spring in which D will be the coach… and another in which he’ll be a ref.  Is that weird?  Maybe… but these are activities that command my children’s attention and dedication.  If they warrant their attention, then they also warrant mine.

A young man from one of the rival teams came up to me and, when he saw that I had a camera, asked if I had taken many photos of the previous night’s game.  I gave him one of my business cards, so he’d be able to access whatever I had taken the night before, and his response was one of gratitude… that they “don’t have anyone who takes pictures of their team”.  Seeing this tall young man, looking for all intents and purposes like a huge child, asking about possible photos of him playing his favorite sport just broke my heart.  Do parents think that they don’t matter to their kids once they graduate from HS?

I’m not questioning if parents still love their kids… I’m simply questioning the notion that parents aren’t wanted after their kids graduate from HS.  I have spent the past six years following three lacrosse teams of varying skill levels and each was filled with kids who truly loved the continued attention.   I’ve been blessed to share the sidelines with hundreds of kids who simply want someone to  acknowledge just how much they love their sport… and I thank them every chance I get.

Maybe we all could take a little more time off to just watch our kids as they follow their passion… maybe then, the world would be a better, happier place?

We’re making a life… let’s make it one filled with purpose and love that starts first with our family and friends, no matter how old.

 

You just never know… March 17, 2013

Filed under: Family,Lacrosse — beatitudesofmylife @ 6:05 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yesterday was to be a very low-key, lazy day for us… circumstances came together at the last minute to give me an unexpected day off of work, so we were moving really slowly when we first heard about a horrific accident in Pennsylvania.

If you haven’t heard about this terrible event, you can access the ABC27 link here: http://www.abc27.com/story/21660187/pregnant-coach-was-1-of-2-pa-turnpike-crash-victims

Due to copyright concerns, I’m not going to post the photos of this event here… it’s just too awful to fathom.

Here’s a general overview of what happened, as I understand it. At 8:50AM on Saturday, March 16, the tour bus carrying the Seton Hill Women’s Lacrosse team to their game at Millersville University veered through a guard rail on the PA Turnpike and crashed into a tree, sheering off the front left corner of the bus and killing the driver. First responders were unbelievably fast and every single person had been transported from the scene by 9:43AM, utilizing the 10 ambulances and myriad of trained personnel who responded. Three people were airlifted to Penn State Hershey and Holy Spirit hospitals and everyone was treated in one form or another at either Hershey, Holy Spirit, or Carlisle Regional.

We were glued to our computers for any bits of information that was being posted, primarily through Twitter. ESPN posted a notice about the accident on their website, but there was never any mention via their broadcast at any point in the day. Twitter was awesome… CNN was informative… the local TV stations (cumberlink.com, the Sentinal, and TV27) followed the story throughout the day and gave updates as they were released. The saddest bit of news, to date, was the announcement that Seton Hill’s head coach, Kristina Quigley, and her unborn 6-month-old son, were both pronounced dead at the hospital. It was one of the hardest things to hear about this unbelievable tragedy.

Don’t get me wrong… I am so incredibly glad to know that most of the lives on that bus were saved. I just keep going back to the thought that it could have happened anywhere, to anyone. Everyone I know has ridden a bus at one time or another. Every parent I know has sent a loved one on a trip with the same prayer for safety. There was nothing out of the ordinary about this trip… except that it wasn’t ordinary.

Seton Hill University holds a special place in our hearts because it’s where E spent his freshman year of college. He was lucky enough to be part of their men’s lacrosse program and logged more miles on his own bus travel than I’d care to contemplate. The MLAX team was close to the WLAX team and he knew many of the team members who were involved in this crash… one of his good friends is dating one of the girls on the WLAX team and, thankfully, is doing well after her ordeal.

Yet I wonder… how will these young women handle travel when they have to get back on a tour bus for their next away game? How will they work through the death of their young head coach? How will they, eventually, put this awful event into their personal histories and move on with their lives.

In response to this tragedy, there have been some incredible notes of hope. Someone created a “Play 4 Seton Hill” Facebook page, in which teams/programs are encouraged to wear crimson/yellow (SHU’s school colors) ribbons or laces and send a photo in support of the team. An amazing number of programs have already posted tweets and messages of support, using #Pray4ShuLax, #GriffNation, or #RememberQuigley. One of the best quotes I read was this:

“a griffin is part lion, part eagle. we must stay strong like lions even though some have now spread their wings like eagles” (from @rebeccajO, via twitter)

The school is having a Mass tonight and I very much wish I could be there, if only to be present for such a showing of love and prayer. If this message does nothing more than to remind you to hug your loved ones each and EVERY time they leave you, it’ll be enough. God doesn’t promise us a long life, but He does promise to be there for us. I’m sure He’s in that chapel tonight… and He’s touching hearts and minds as they try and understand the unfathomable.

Hug your loved ones… and Pray for ShuLax.. #play4setonhill

20130320-213556.jpg

 

Everything has a lifespan August 26, 2012

Filed under: Lacrosse,Life Balance,Sports,Volunteering — beatitudesofmylife @ 5:16 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Cue the words to the song by The Byrds, “Turn, Turn, Turn”.  See if you can tell where I’m going with these lyrics:

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

(Chorus)

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

(Chorus)

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

(Chorus)

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

I’m about to make a big change in my life with regards to where I am going to volunteer my time, but it’s taken more soul searching than I expected…

Let me first say that I am not a fan of change.   I do enjoy a challenge but I also am very happy to work behind the scenes, year after year, expanding and enhancing my role within an organization until it fits “just right”.  Maintaining the “status quo” is fine with me… for awhile.

I ran into this situation first when E was playing youth association football.  He made the decision, in eighth grade, to play lacrosse instead of football.  While his move was totally fine with us, I was upset because I had enjoyed being the Team Mom for his age group and felt that I had already committed to continuing that position for one more year.  After a bit of discussion, I decided to honor the commitment that I had made to the team and, while E played lacrosse, I was the “Team Mom with no child on the team”.  I did skip out early on the occasional practice that was cutting into dinner time that fall, but for all intents and purposes, I was present for every scrimmage, game, and team event that fall.  I had a blast and enjoyed every moment of being on those sidelines… and my boys saw a mom who followed through on a commitment she had made to a group of kids, whether they were related to me or not.

Fast forward to this year… I had joined the Board of Directors of the lacrosse program for which E played until he graduated HS.  I then continued to work for that program, as Secretary, Scheduler and “Athletic Director” for another two years.  This past spring was the end of that sixth year and I have decided that the “lifespan” of my participation with this amazing program has run its course and come to an end.  As much as I hate to leave the safety of my direct association with the people who have created and built the Richmond Shock Lacrosse program, and subsequently the Central Virginia Lacrosse League (CVLL), I believe that there are others who need to take my place and influence the direction of these programs for their own children.

Once I made this decision, the next question was “what do I do now?”  I had built a professional network of coaches, schedulers, referees, and athletic directors that I was loathe to leave the lacrosse community completely… there had to be something I could do or somewhere I could use my unique skill set.  Enter the Richmond Chapter of US Lacrosse.

I had first encountered this organization when E was selected for their Boys’ All-Star game at the end of his senior year.  This was their inaugural game and by happenstance I was their event photographer.  I followed their program from the periphery, but didn’t think about becoming involved until I was asked to consider organizing a Coaches Clinic, which never quite came to fruition, but succeeded in whetting my appetite to become involved.

Involved how was the big question now.  As I contemplated stepping away from Shock, I looked at the landscape of lacrosse in our local area and found it sorely lacking.  In my humble opinion, it’s not lacking in kids… it’s not lacking in interest… it’s lacking in direction.  My new quest was slowly presenting itself to me… I could, somehow, become involved in expanding and helping to develop this amazing sport.  Now all I had to do was figure out how to get others to allow me to become involved.

I wrote a very persuasive letter to the Chapter to explain to them that they needed a Director of Sport Development and Marketing.  With M’s gracious help, we scoured the National US Lacrosse site looking for a precedent that I could use to explain my goal of becoming involved with the Richmond Chapter.  I explained how my history and my involvement would benefit the Chapter and was eventually voted onto the Board…yea, ME!

While it’s still a very new venture for me, I am tremendously excited to be working to expand lacrosse within the reaches of the Richmond Chapter.  My goal is to expand our presence on Facebook and Twitter, keep our website as up-to-date as possible (thank GOD for M), and find out how to go about increasing training, certifications, and qualification programs for anyone who’s interested in becoming involved with lacrosse.

There is a new world opening up to me and while one door is slowly closing, this new door is bursting open with possibilities and promise.  I know I’m looking at all of this through rose-colored glasses (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/through+rose-colored+glasses) but if I focus on all that can’t happen, I’ll never see the possibilities.

Besides… the world looks so much prettier this way.

 

Catch-up on lacrosse

Filed under: Lacrosse,Sports — beatitudesofmylife @ 3:59 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Catch-up on lacrosse.

The local paper just printed the bare-bones version of my original post “An Open Letter to the New Principal of Midlothian HS”.  Here’s the link, in case you’re interested in reading my opinion.  I was pretty excited that they decided to print my opinion.

 

An Open Letter to the new Principal at Midlothian HS July 1, 2012

Filed under: Communication,Lacrosse,Photography,Sports — beatitudesofmylife @ 11:26 am

I know this seems like a strange thing to blog about, especially given the overall theme of my other posts, but this letter is meant to lend my support and my appreciation to this person who is new to the landscape of lacrosse in Chesterfield County.  This person is walking into a difficult position, but is willing to consider the possibility of fully sanctioned Virginia High School League (VHSL) lacrosse programs for boys and girls at his new high school.  Considering that lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the country, I believe that our kids are seriously behind the 8-ball by *not* offering this sport across the board.

It’s astounding to me that we’ve had kids who have felt the need to leave their home public high schools; however qualified those schools may be, to attend private schools that might give them the opportunity to play their favorite sport at the collegiate level.  AC, a teammate of my younger son, transferred to St. Anne’s-Belfield in Charlottesville, and was subsequently recruited by several Division I programs,  eventually settling on Georgetown University.  CC, another former teammate, has recently transferred to a local private school with designs of being seen as a serious recruit to also play at the Division I level in college.  These kids shouldn’t have to leave their friends and transfer to a private school when the academic caliber of our public HS’s is so high.  Offering lacrosse as a VHSL sanctioned sport in a second HS in Chesterfield could only do GOOD for our community.  As much as people want to tout football as the only sport people will come out to watch on a Friday night, the Freeman program was able to bring a huge number of people to the stands when they held a lacrosse doubleheader (boys game followed a girls game, I believe) on a Friday night this spring.  That’s the sort of thing that creates school unity, team bonding, and a positive community feeling… right?

My son, E, was lucky… we spent a great deal of time and effort in his recruitment effort, but the question we kept hearing was, “why isn’t he playing for his HS team”.  To have to then detail the lack of available programs in our area was almost embarrassing.  People were simply stunned that lacrosse was not available as a varsity sport in Richmond, Virginia.  HS’s in neighboring counties were adding lacrosse, or had programs in the pipeline, but we were continually told that our AD’s and principals were strongly against adding lacrosse to their athletic roster.   E’s saving grace was a combination of his skill in the classroom (33 on his ACT) and his talent on the field.  He played for a travel club lacrosse team (Richmond Shock) throughout the year, all through his high school career, and ended up signing an academic letter of intent (he was given no athletic funds as he was awarded a full-tuition academic scholarship) to a Division II school.  E subsequently realized that he needed a more academic focus and transferred to UVA last year, where he played on the UVA men’s club lacrosse team and is now one of their club officers.  He also believes in giving back and is spending his summer working lacrosse camps and helping to coach the Richmond Shock HS-A team during tournaments.  Lacrosse is a huge part of his life.

As I’ve written before, my older son, D, had a rockier introduction to lacrosse. The only option for him to play lacrosse came through the now defunct Swift Creek Lacrosse Program.  He played during his last two years of HS and rarely had an adult coach who could help him learn the sport.  Even so, when his college decision came down to being a member of the band or a varsity athlete, he chose the school that would allow him to be an athlete.  D played varsity lacrosse at Hood College (Frederick, MD) for four years and, after graduating with a degree in chemistry, has decided to go back to school to become a Certified Athletic Trainer.  He loves the sport of lacrosse.  He now joins his brother in the ranks of coaching lacrosse, helping conduct weekly camps and also as an assistant coach for the Richmond Shock HS-B team.

As for my own participation with lacrosse, I have been associated with the board of Richmond Shock lacrosse since 2005.  I was Coach Barnard’s team manager for two years and became their Athletic Director/Scheduler shortly after Coach left to start the Midlothian program.  I became a free-lance sports photographer in 2009 and have been on the sidelines to shoot Navy Football (for GoMids.com), RMAL swim championships (for the past three years), and have been requested to shoot a number of area HS events and local championship/senior nights as well as the Richmond Chapter of US Lacrosse’s annual HS All-Star game.   I don’t take this sport or its future in our community lightly.  I have worked diligently to support those who envision a day where HS Lacrosse is the expectation and *not* the exception.

As you come into this new job as Principal of Midlothian HS, I’m sure you are wondering if adding lacrosse can really be that important to your new community.  It is my opinion that you would be remiss in dismissing this program without serious consideration.  At Coach Barnard’s request, Weaver Athletic Association sponsored the Midlothian LC for the past four years.  They’ve worked within a budget, purchased any needed equipment, and procured any and all field space on which Midlothian LC played.  They’ve allowed Coach Barnard and Assistant Coach Jason Trueblood to create a program of which you will be proud.  He approaches the program with the dedication of a college coach and works hard to instill the necessary values in his players that will carry them through to the next level.  He is, in essence, handing you a program that is completely formed and thoroughly planned.  To allow this opportunity to pass you by would be a sad commentary on the future, both for our children and for the great sport of lacrosse.

Lacrosse is growing… and Chesterfield county schools need to join the ranks or be trampled by them.

With all my best wishes as you begin this new chapter of Midlothian High School,

Alison Althouse

Freelance Sports Photographer (AliSportShots.com)

Richmond Shock AD

 

 
The Road to hell

is paved with the pieces of you.

todaywithmvkayy

fit, fun, fabulous

Blog Voyage

So, two girls walk onto a plane...

Social Vignerons

The World of Wine's Got Talent

Grate Bites

My WordPress Blog

Bumbling In Burkina

Follow my endeavors to sweat professionally for 2 years. And teach math.

Beatitudes of my life

Being grateful for everything in my life.... no matter what...

From the Bottom of a Wine Bottle

Missives and musings along the way to the bottom...

The Mountain Kitchen

Cooking & Mountain Life

Wine Ramblings

French expat drinks wine, writes about it

Offtheyard's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

catherinethemessenger

Write what you [are called to] know.

Homemade Delish

With creativity and imagination you can style anything to your taste

Tasting And A Critic

Real reviews of real wines.

Married in the Mourning, Sailing with the Knight

The story of a newlywed, her life, love, loss, and tiny little wiener dog.

My Favourite Pastime

Food, Travel and Eating Out

A Call To Hands

Start Reaching.

LauraLovingLife

Lover of cooking ~ Wanting to share my adventures in the kitchen!

Foods for the Soul

sinfully healthy recipes

the drunken cyclist

I have three passions: wine, cycling, travel, family, and math.

The Spirit Within

personal musings on life and its challenges

My 2 Cents

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Peanut Butter Fingers

Living a Life Fueled by Healthy Food and Fitness

the winegetter

Ramblings on wine from a German in Ann Arbor

Whine And Cheers For Wine

The Wine Experience and everything that comes along with it.

frugalfeeding | Low Budget Family Recipes, UK Food Blog

n. frugality; the quality of being economical with money or food.

The Gleeful Gourmand

Being grateful for everything in my life.... no matter what...

Rantings of an Amateur Chef

Food...cooking...eating....tools - What works, and what doesn't!

Squeedunk

Being grateful for everything in my life.... no matter what...

%d bloggers like this: