If ever you believed you couldn’t

If there was ever a time when you thought you couldn’t do something.


If ever a task seemed too insurmountable, too big, too impossible.


If ever you doubted your ability to achieve a dream.


Then please…




Watch the St. Louis Cardinals play a baseball game in the postseason.


Nothing is impossible when you have the talent, the desire and the will to go after it.

The value of a man

Earlier today, Albert Pujols signed a massive deal that took him out of the Cardinals uniform and put him into an Angels uniform….and all hell broke loose.  I heard the wailing all the way down here.  Mournful weeping.

Gnashing of teeth.

As I heard the details, I was struck by only one thing: how has the value of one man become so displaced?

This is not a question of Albert Pujol’s character.  While I do not know him personally, I know several people who do and I know that he is the real deal.  He gives more than he takes, he isn’t looking for attention and he constantly deflects praise.  If I had to pick someone who I felt could handle the responsibility of $250 million dollars, I would choose Albert Pujols.

“He’s greedy!”

“So I guess it is all about the money!”


“Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!”

All of these sentiments popped up online as everyone lashed out at the surprise last minute deal.  And I get it…sort of.  Pujols is a hometown hero.  Not only is the he face of baseball, but he’s an amazing person and who wouldn’t want to keep him around?  I understand the disappointment, but let’s keep perspective.

He is just one man.

The truth is, none of us know everything that went into Albert’s decision to move his family across country.  Was it the money?  Well, probably to a degree it was.  How many of us would have turned down $34 million for loyalty’s sake?  At the end of the day I don’t believe this was greed so much as business.  Can it be argued that there comes a point where enough is enough?  Sure.  But it can also be argued that a lot of good could be done with $34 million and to simply walk away out of principle is kind of foolish.

In other words, Pujols was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t.

To claim that it was solely the money that brought him to this decision simplifies things far too much.  As my super smart (and freakishly handsome) husband explained to me, Albert Pujols is thinking about his career as a whole.  Where can he establish himself that gives him the best opportunity to finish out his years as a baseball player?

St. Louis wasn’t the place.  And that is okay.

So I do not begrudge Albert Pujols.  And I fully trust that he will give away more money than most of us will ever know or comprehend.  This bigger deal gives him the opportunity to give above and beyond what he is already doing.  If I’m being totally honest, I’d tell you that I’d rather see $250 million in the hands of Albert Pujols than in the hands of the US Government.


Honestly, my initial and gut reation to the news today was not anger toward Pujols but rather toward our society as a whole.  I felt a heap of righteous indignation at the thought that we as a nation have placed such an enormous value upon a man who swings a stick and hits a ball.  I do not say that disrespectfully by any means.  I hope I’ve established that I have nothing but respect for Albert Pujols.  But the fact remains, he’s just a guy with a bat.

Why is the value of a baseball player so high, yet the value of a teacher so low?  Is it a wonder our school system is failing, our economy tanking?  Does it not seem that the value we as a society have placed upon man is only slightly off kilter?

This is not Albert’s fault.  This has nothing to do with him and everything to do with a society that has drastically lost perspective on the value of influence.  Or does it?

Is one man worth $250 million dollars? Well, though my first response is a resounding HECK NO, the truth is that’s not really for me to judge or decide.  I really believe that God Himself ordains some to be stewards of much and for others to be stewards of little (Matthew 25).  It’s not for me to decide how much a man is worth, but rather to be responsible with that which I’ve been given.  This is where my criticism for the amount Pujols has been promised gets shattered into a thousand tiny pieces and my writing starts to sounds schizophrenic so I find myself simply needing to wrap things up.

I’m happy for Albert Pujols.  Truly and completely, I am happy that a man of his character has found favor in such a way.  And for my part, I will continue to cheer him on, not because I value what he does on the field, but rather what he does off of it.

I am, however, still a bit shocked at the priorities of our nation and the value we place on those who entertain.  I am afraid I feel both emotions equally, though they are a bit conflicting.

Your thoughts?

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Where we were then

We are the World Series Champions!

Alternately titled: I didn’t know I could love baseball this much.

The St. Louis Cardinals are the World Series Champions.  You probably already knew that, but unless you’re from Missouri or Texas it likely didn’t mean much to you.  Truthfully, not that long ago it wouldn’t have mattered much to me either.  While I’ve always enjoyed sports, I have never been much of a fanatic.  I could take ’em or leave ’em.

Until this World Series.  I don’t know what came over me, honestly.  Maybe it’s the fact that we just moved away from St. Louis and I was feeling nostalgic, maybe it’s the fact that my son is finally at an age where sports are a huge deal, maybe it’s the fact that I was smack dab in the middle of a strict diet and I was delirious from hunger…

Whatever the case, I was a nut job over this World Series.  I wanted to see every game and I nervously paced and sighed and yelled and fussed over all of them.  I told you – I’m a terribly nervous sports fan.

It could be that this is the first time baseball has been really exciting.  Watching Sloan dissect each pitch and interact with Lee like a grown up made my heart turned ten shades of happy. Hearing Tia yell, “Texas, you awre goin’ down like China town,” cracked me up.

Hearing Landon declare that he was going to stay up “til the Wowrld Serious ends” and then watching him fall asleep before the first pitch was thrown made smile.

There was just something about this Championship series that was magical.  Had it been any other combination of teams, I probably wouldn’t have cared quite as much, though I would have still been excited to watch the game with my first born’s commentary running in the background.

“Oooohhh…that pitch was nasty. Did you see that nasty pitch?”

“Okay, John Jay…time to be a hitter.  Aw, man!  Jay don’t swing at the first pitch!”

“Okay guys, time to play smart.  We need smart baseball here.”

Thursday night found the kids and I at my parents condo so we could watch Game 6.  Lee was at a dinner and wouldn’t be home until late so we decided to make it a baseball night sans daddy.

It was a make or break game.  The Cardinals had to win it or I would be teaching my fiery first born the finer points of losing gracefully.  And after the sixth inning, when it appeared that all hope was lost and the game was over for the Cardinals, I prepared myself to give him the “someone’s got to win and someone’s got to lose” speech.

“That’s it,” Sloan huffed as yet another foolish error was made in the outfield.  “Texas is going to win.  I’m done watching this stupid game.” And with that, he stomped to his bed.

I, however, decided to stay up and see if maybe, just maybe, the Cards could pull off yet another miracle. And they did not disappoint. Lee and I texted back and forth until just after midnight when my phone died and the Cardinals and Rangers entered into the 11th inning tied…again.

And then…well, honestly?  I fell asleep.

Okay, so I’m not a total die hard sports fan yet.  I closed my eyes when the commercials came on with the intention of opening them again when the game started back up.  Instead, I opened them to find an elated Lance Berkman being interviewed with clips of David Freese hitting the game winning walk off home run.  (He’s an alumni from my high school, you know).

(Name dropper)

(Naw…if I was a name dropper I’d tell you about the time that Lee played basketball with Albert Pujols).

Stellar Parenting 101: Take your exhausted 3 year old to a sports bar at 10:00 at night and tell him you're sorry he's tired but you're not leaving so he better curl up on the chair. At least he slept, right?

So Friday night found us all piled up together at Buffalo Wild Wings for Game 7.  Landon fell asleep on my lap within minutes and we stayed until the beautiful, glorious end when the Cardinals defied the odds and won.

It was thrilling because it was our home team.

It was thrilling because they fought hard and beat a really good, tough team.

It was thrilling because we were together, just the five of us, making a memory with our kids to last a lifetime.

When the kids are grown and are taking their own children to baseball games, I pray they remember the night we closed down a sports bar.  I hope they remember what they were doing when the St. Louis Cardinals won their 11th World Series title.  I hope they tell their kids where they were when…

I will have the memory of that night treasured up and stored inside the most sacred sanctuary of my heart.  And every day, as I walk outside and watch Sloan reenact the moment the Cards won the game in our backyard (and reenact he does, he mimics every player’s reaction from Yadi to Pujols to Purcal to LaRussa) I’m reminded that raising kids is a series of moments pieced into the tapestry that makes up a life.

It is flashes of time, memories and laughter all strung together, that I pray leaves them with a sense of love that will be unmatched until they one day repeat the cycle with their own children.

Thank you, St. Louis Cardinals for giving our family a memory to last a lifetime.

How Baylor Football Changed Me Forever

It was 1999 and I was a senior walking beneath the cloud of new love.  I didn’t have a ring on it yet, but it was only a matter of time (weeks, to be exact).  We were headed to yet another Baylor Bears football game where we would talk and visit and only occasionally check the field to measure just how badly we were losing.

My time at Baylor will not be remembered for great football…

At some point during this particularly overcast and chilly day, the pace of the game changed.  Baylor was winning. It was a thrill almost entirely unknown to me since I had spent most of my four years at the school accepting defeat with grace.

The crowd was electric.  The score was 24-21 against UNLV and there were 20 seconds left in the game.  Baylor had the ball at the 8 yard line.  This was our time – the day to rejoice.  All they had to do was down the ball.  Just put down a knee.  So easy.  So very, very easy.


Wait.  What’s that?  Why are they? Wait…huh?

“A two point conversion!  What are they doing running a two point conversion!” My husband to be roared as the Rebels’ Kevin Thomas scooped up the fumbled ball and began making a dash down the field.

I had no idea what a two point conversion was or what on Earth had just gone down, but from the look on Lee’s face, I knew I needed to be horrified.  I wanted to shout at the field with him, make my protest known at this mysterious call.  But I could do no more than clutch my head in my hands, my mouth open in a horrified stare, no sound permitted to escape.

And as the clock ticked down to zero, the entire stadium watched in stunned silence as Thomas ran the ball into the end zone for a 99-yard touchdown to win the game.

I almost cried.  I don’t even care about football that much, but that day…I nearly cried.  And since then, I have never been the same.

I’m not a great sports fan to begin with.  Games make me a nervous wreck.  If I care about one of the teams in play, I find myself jumpy, fidgety and nervous.  But when my team does begin to win, I feel a sudden onslaught of sympathy for the opposing team and I want them to at least not lose badly.  But if my team starts to lose I get all jumpy and jittery and I start to talk loud and fast and…

Don’t get me started on how uptight I get when I don’t care about either one of the teams.  I alternate between total exhilaration for the winning team and utter sympathy for the losing team.  I’m like a sports crazed Sybil.

I’m not one of those cool girls who yells at the TV and high fives when the football dude runs the ball into the end zone.  Oh no.  I’m the chick in the corner nervously biting her nails and gorging herself on little hot dogs slathered in barbeque sauce straight from the crock pot.  I’m the girl pretending not to care because if she pays attention to the game too closely she might have a nervous breakdown.

The St. Louis Cardinals are currently playing Game 6 of the NLCS Championship against the Milwaukee Brewers.  I haven’t watched much of the series for two reasons:

1.) We don’t have cable so watching isn’t that easy.  Lee has taken the kids to Chili’s to watch several of the games.  I went with them once, but the rest of the time I declined because if given the option to be alone in my house for a couple of hours, I’m going to say yes.  Sorry Red Birds, I love ya, but…

2.) It makes me crazy.  C-to the-RAZY.  I want the Cardinals to win and I can’t stand the pressure.  I can’t stand it. As we speak, Lee has the game on the radio and we’re listening to the game on ESPN.  And this, friends, is next to torture.  TORTURE. Because the noise of the crowd is intensified over the radio and the announcer’s voices keep going up in decibels and sweet-mother-of-all-that’s-holy-I-NEED-A-DRINK.

So Cardinals, I hope you win.  I really do.  And if you make it to the Series, I will watch as often as I can mooch a TV screen.  But I will watch through my fingers, I will pace, I will likely chew off all my nails and I’ll probably leave the room now and again to take a deep breath.

By the end of the Series, I will probably have an ulcer.  Don’t worry, though, I won’t blame you.

I blame the Baylor Bears.

*Disclaimer: I love Baylor University.  My four years there were by far the best of my life and I would do them all again in a heartbeat.  Except that one game.  I would skip that game if I got a do-over…

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