Vacation or Escape

Earlier this year we decided to take a vacation to the Dominican Republic. This time I decided to take an extra day on both ends to prevent the stress of getting back to work with a few hours of sleep. We traveled on an early Tuesday morning to Fargo to make a 5 am flight. We have been planning trips like this for three years, and we have sort of perfected the process. However, this year the gbb season switched it up a bit for us. Instead of missing the final game of the regular season, we missed the final game of the district tournament. With Elisabeth on our minds, we sat in a hotel room listening to the iPhone app for KSJBam in Jamestown, ND. We had hoped to see rather than listen to the last game of the season. But plans don’t always work out, and as the final minutes ticked off the clock, we knew we had missed our opportunity.
I think it was easier to listen to this loss rather than watch it. Distancing myself helped to put things into perspective. Another two weeks of practice and long days may have turned into a missed opportunity for Elisabeth. Her friend, Tyler, has a grandmother with terminal cancer. The night we left for our vacation, Elisabeth sat at the kitchen table with tears in her eyes, telling me that Val had refused any treatment because if it worked, it would have given her about one extra month. Last week, they had a celebration of life party for her. My worry was not that Elisabeth would miss the region bb tournament because of a loss, but it was that she would miss one last weekend with Tyler’s family. I wished her luck and reminded her that sometimes things have a way of working out. In a perfect world, that would mean that Val would live a miracle and her life would continue for years. We know those miracles are few and far between, but I was a bit relieved with the loss of a bb game. In the long run, bb really isn’t that important.
Being here in the Dominican Republic in a beautiful environment, we try to spend many hours awake rather than sleeping. That means getting up early for a walk on the beach. I try to capture the sunrise. I wish I could get the sunset also, but that is a bit difficult from our location. I leave you with a few pictures that show a true miracle… the beauty of a sunrise.

Sunrise 2/18/15

Sunrise 2/18/15

Sunrise Punta Cana 2/19/15

Sunrise Punta Cana 2/19/15

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Que Sera, Sera

When I googled the meaning of this well-known saying, this is what I found at education-portal.com/academy:

  1. The phrase has been around for hundreds of years and became a major part of the lexicon when Doris Day had a big hit with the song Que Sera,Sera. ‘Whatever will be, will be’ means that the future is up in the air, and whatever is going to happen, is going to happen. 
  2. The song lyrics for one verse are as follows:

Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be

My mother never came out and said it “in so many words,” but she hinted that sometimes when we push too hard for things and it doesn’t work out, there may be a “bigger” reason, and we should “drop it.” If we, as kids, wanted to go someplace or do something and it didn’t feel right, she took that as a sign that we should stay home. Some might call it a sixth sense.

Tonight I watched the girls play basketball against another team in our district. It was a very physical game, and it didn’t end as we would have liked it to end. I was intrigued once again that no matter how much we plan or prepare, sometimes we have no control over what will happen in our lives. This season was not supposed to be a season of many wins. In fact, it was going to be a rebuilding year. The first few games surprised many. The girls won games early in the season and were looking pretty good. Then injury struck. We overcame sprained ankles, a hamstring pull and tweaked wrist, some jammed fingers and blisters. We were looking to the end of the season, and every game brought another injury or illness to the team. Just when we thought we couldn’t possibly have worse luck, we did. Three weeks before the district tournament, our point guard fractured a wrist. A game later, one of the JV players was hurt, and we are down to ten players.

I want to remind parents and fans that it isn’t the problems they encounter that matter so much, but rather the way in which they handle them that shows the true character of the person. I have enjoyed this season. Every person on the team has contributed, some in a way they may never have expected to contribute. Some were given opportunities that they didn’t expect to have.

So before we throw in the towel and accept that Que Sera premise, we must think about the growth of each person on the team. Girls, keep your heads up. You have dealt with many things this year. Keep working hard and see the season through to the end. You have overcome many obstacles this year, and the fight I saw in you tonight was impressive. Take what you have learned and use that in whatever you do.

And no, I don’t completely believe that “whatever will be, will be.” I believe we can rise above if we keep our heads and hearts in the game and keep working hard on and off the court. Good Luck on the rest of your season.

Time Hop

I have a neat little app on my iphone–Time Hop. This app pulls status updates from social media sites and allows the owner to post status updates from the exact day of previous years. Some posts have little or no meaning years later. Some posts are nothing but selfish rants from the activities of the day. Looking back at some of them makes me realize how petty we have become with social media, how we have made everything about ourselves. We post when someone cuts us off in traffic or what we made for supper. At times, I have felt like unfriending people because of the repetitive posting they do. However, today my post has a bit more meaning for me. I have, in fact, been dreading today’s post. Four years ago today, I was spending a day home from school. We were celebrating a holiday. I had just returned from a wonderful NEA regional meeting in Kansas City. I had vowed to spend the day in my pj’s setting a puzzle, or not. Elisabeth was planning to spend the day with a very good friend. The phone rang. My sister was on the other line telling me my mom had died peacefully in her sleep.

My time hop for that day states, “How do you say goodbye to someone you have always counted on? My heart is shattered.”  Later that day I posted, “I’m so tired…too weary for words…but I feel the words building. I’m remembering the day my father passed away and how different this feels.”

But, life goes on and exactly two years after that, my post for the day was “Elisabeth and I are enjoying an ‘orange’ day in Bismarck. The ortho appt., of course, is part of it.” An orange day in our family is symbolic of a day when we choose what we want to do…no pressure.

Life comes full circle. Where am I today? I am sitting at my kitchen table with my pj’s on. I have vowed to not take them off today. I will be doing homework rather than a puzzle, but that is okay too.

Take care and be careful what you post. May it be something substantial, meaningful, and happy.

IMG_2383

Upgrade to a New Year.

After finishing the first semester of a new school year, I have to wonder when the time will slow for me and my family. We have spent the better part of the school year sitting on a bench in a gym watching kids fight for control of a ball. My mom used to remark on the waste of running after a ball. She, of course, would rather have had us chasing customers in her little cafe on main street in Herreid SD. My doctor also can’t figure out why we as parents follow our children around so closely. In a way, I have to agree with her. We have made their lives so important to our own, that I believe sometimes they don’t enjoy themselves. We have placed so much emphasis on their success. Why? Is it for bragging rights? I do enjoy watching my daughter in all sports, but I have a favorite. It is softball because we can play side by side. I concern myself with me, and she is free to play without having to entertain me or anyone else. Although I don’t have pictures of us playing softball, I have plenty of all the other sports. Here I will leave you with one of my own favorite shots that has nothing to do with sports. This one is at Coco Cay where she didn’t have to be anything but herself for me. IMG_9730I hope to create more memories like this, but until we can pry ourselves from the high school responsibilities, we can dream of that wonderfully hot day in the Bahamas.

“My aim is to p…

“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”
–Ernest Hemingway