Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Value of Wisdom

"My son, if you receive my words, and treasure
my commands within you, so that you incline your ear
to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and apply
your heart to understanding, if you seek her as silver,
and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you
will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the
knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from
HIS mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores
up sound wisdom for the upright; HE is a shield
to those who walk uprightly; HE guards the path of
justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then
you will understand righteousness and justice, equity
and every good path." Proverbs 2:1-9

Wisdom comes from the Lord alone. When we don't
have godly wisdom, we will not understand true
knowledge and understanding. We can be swayed
by our emotions or by the thoughts of others if
we do not know our Bible. The Bible tells us "if"
we do one thing, "then" we will receive what God
has for us. "If" we recieve, apply, incline, cry
out, treasure and seek, "THEN" we will understand,
find and be protected by God! When we obey, He takes
care of the rest! I hope we will desire "truth,
wisdom, knowledge and understanding" that comes
from knowing God and His word. The Bible tells
us clearly "seek and you will find" so let's start
seeking Him more!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why I love Softball. . .

Me, Christy, Geneva and Ogee

Me, Geneva, Coach "Murman", Christy and Ogee

My teammates and Christy's husband (Victor) and Ogee's husband (Mark)

One of the reasons I love softball so much is that
it's like having a second family! This week I went
to dinner with girls that I played with when
I was 13-16 years old. We won the 14&U National
Championship in Chattanooga, TN and I'll never
forget it! I love the memories, but more importantly,
the friendships that have lasted throughout my life.
Most of us are now married and have kids and it's been so
fun to laugh about old times on the field, no matter
how long it's been since we've seen eachother last.
Geneva was in town visiting from Australia where she
live and works as an anesthesiologist, so we went
to dinner. Like always, it was a great time!

The Day has Arrived. . .

Luke, Drew and Jake in front of the crib

Luke is ready to be a "big boy"

"Free at Last"

I am excited, bummed and not looking forward to some of it!!!
The day has come for the crib to be gone in this home!
Luke has been climbing on top of his crib for about 4 months
now, but wouldn't get down (I guess it looked like too
far of a drop to him). This weekend he made the "leap"!
Of course, it was because he was mad and was in "time out"!
That should teach me to put him in a corner and not his crib!
He jumped out and that was it. He knew he could "get free"
anytime he wanted now. So we said "good-bye" the crib and
made it into a toddler bed. This means the boys are growing
up. I took a picture with all three boys because this is the
only crib we've ever had. We bought this crib when Jake was
born and used it for Drew and Luke also. So, the day has
arrived for Luke to be a "big boy". Of course, this morning
was the first morning that Luke realized that he could get
out and was up at 5am! I was about to run back in and put
the crib back together!! After about 45 minutes, we got him
to go back to sleep, thank goodness. Just another step in
life, even for my little ones!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

I just want to recognize Memorial Day.
We are so fortunate to live in a free country,
but we all know that freedom is not free.
The cost of freedom is sacrifice and many courageous
men and also women have given their lives for
our freedom in America. I pray for the troops all
over the world and their families. I pray for protection,
for peace, for God's love to invade their lives. I pray
for those that know God personally to be a shining light
to all around them. I pray for the loved ones who have
lost a son or daughter, a husband or wife, a mom or dad,
a sister or brother, an aunt or uncle, a best friend! Their
lives have not been lost in vain! We remember them! We
will never be able to thank them enough! We will always
honor them as long as this country has freedom! And we honor
those who fight this very hour for this country. We will pray
and thank God for you always!

Softball, Softball and More Softball!

Leah in the Announcer's Booth

This weekend I was in Atlanta as an Analyst for ESPN and College Softball Super Regionals. I worked with Cara Capuano (Play by Play) and the game we called was
#3 Washington at #14 Georgia Tech. The games had a lot of action and we saw some power hitting displayed. Washington and Georgia Tech both had a home run in Game 1, but Washington came away with 14 hits total and won 7-1. The series was best 2 out of 3, and Washington came out strong again on Sunday and won 7-1 with 4 home runs on the day. I remember the emotions and excitement of getting to the Women's College World Series when I played at Arizona. My freshman year at Arizona (we won the National Championship) was the first year the title game was ever televised (it was tape delayed and shown later). Now, regionals are on TV, all 8 sites for Super Regionals were aired this weekend, and every single game this next week (WCWS) will be shown on ESPN or ESPN2. It is so exciting for the great sport of softball!

It is exciting to watch the games and on Friday night I stayed up until 2am watching the Arizona vs. Stanford series in which Arizona came up big and beat Stanford. I was on the edge of my seat the entire game. I'm looking forward to a great Women's College World Series! Every year the talent across the country gets better and better.

Cara, Tommy and I went to the Atlanta Braves game on Saturday night to get out and enjoy the city. Of course, after the game was over, we had to celebrate with some dessert!! This is the most amazing dessert ever: Chocolate Nachos. It needs to be described to understand why I say "amazing": cinnamon-sugar fried flour tortillas, three huge scoops of vanilla ice cream, baby ruth candy bar squares as croutons, hot fudge, whipped cream and of course, tons of cherries!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Super Regionals- College Softball- ESPN

I'll be doing some games on ESPN this upcoming weekend at the College Softball
Super Regionals in Atlanta. The games will be between Georgia Tech and University of Washington. The winner (best 2 out of 3) will advance to the Women's College World Series next weekend in Oklahoma City. Last year I had the chance to be an Analyst for the series between Arizona State and Northwestern. The games will be airing on ESPN on Saturday at 9am Pacific, and Sunday at 10am Pacific with a possible third game airing at 1pm Pacific. I'm excited to watch some great softball and share this great sport with the world!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Getting REAL with God!

An acronym was put on my heart a few months back and I wanted to share it.
It was all about getting REAL:

R = Recognize Truth
E = Experience Freedom
A = Answer God's Call for your Life
L = Live with God's Power

I feel like these are such important keys to victory in our Christian lives.

Truth:First and foremost, where do we turn to for truth? If we believe the Bible is true, we have to believe ALL of it. No matter how much society changes and morals are replaced with a belief that everything is good as long as it feels good and doesn't hurt others, as Christians, our view of right and wrong needs to be according to the Word of God.
Freedom: When we know God and trust in Jesus, we can experience freedom that can only come from God! He wants us to be free from all the junk going on around us and in us. John 8:36 says, "Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you are free indeed."
God's Call: God has a purpose and a plan for all us of. We need to seek God and live a life of obedience to the ways of God so we can be in His perfect will. That doesn't mean the road will be easy and we'll have lots of money, but it does mean that we will be under God's protection. We can trust that His ways are better than our own.
God's Power: Many people say they believe in God but not many live a life full of God's power. We serve a powerful God who parted the Red Sea and healed the sick and made the blind people see. We have the Holy Spirit in us and we need to ask God to fill us up with His power, to speak to us, and to use us to bring glory to His name.

Romans 8:37-39 talks about NOTHING being able to separate us from the love of Christ and also that we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through CHRIST.
"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him
who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor
angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things
to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be
able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Let's make a difference and impact those around us with the love
of Christ and by God's strength.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Tommy!

Today is Tommy's 36th Birthday! We celebrated by getting some great Mexican food and an ice cream cake from Baskin Robins. For his birthday, the boys and I gave him the book, Crazy Love, by Francis Chan and a gift card to Borders (he always loves to go buy some books). We also gave him a few shirts- one was a New England Patriots t-shirt. They are his favorite team and although he has a ton of shirts and jerseys already, he doesn't have one of Tedy Bruschi. I went to college with Tedy, so I thought that we could add one of his shirts to the Patriot's collection. If anybody is wondering "why the Patriots?", it's because Tommy is from Boston. And if you know anything about Boston fans- they are loyal to EVERY Boston team! He is a die hard fan!
Enough about that, I also bought Tommy a nice watch. He is so much better at getting me gifts than I am for him, but he really liked the watch so I was happy. My mom got him some new attachments for the Wii, and Jake was more excited than anybody about that. The two of them will be competing in no time! I just wanted to wish my hubby the best Birthday yet! I love you Tommy!

Parenting Can Be Hard!

Wow, parenting can be sooooo hard sometimes! This entry is for all you parents out there with strong-willed kids! My kids love to push me as hard as possible! Don't get me wrong, my kids get disciplined. . .a lot! I would think only kids who don't get punished when they do something wrong would act up as much as my kids, but the problem is the fact that they choose to challenge my authority. I have to continually remind them (in loving discipline, of course) that they have to obey or there will be consequences. Although, I would learn from that, they tend to learn more through experiencing the consequences! It can be so tiring as a parent and more frustrating than I ever would have thought! So many days I just want to give up and say, "who cares if you do that", but they need to learn that it's wrong to hit eachother and throw things at eachother! If only they would throw a baseball with the same intensity and strength that they use to throw things at eachother! At least I have the Bible as our guide. I will continue to point them in the direction of putting others above themselves or being kind and forgiving. As tired as I get, I will never give up- I love them too much! That's the way God is towards us. His love is unconditional and nothing we do could ever make Him love us less. His heart must ache when his children disobey! His heart must be broken for those who won't give their lives to Him and receive His promises of the abundant life now and eternal life with Him forever! I am so thankful He will never give up on us. We just need to decide if we will listen to His authority or follow our own! I choose God's way!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bible Verses To Live By!

Ephesians 4:32: "And be kind to one another, tenderheartedly, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."

John 4:13-14: "Jesus answered and said to her, 'Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him, will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of living water springing up into everlasting life."

Psalm 34:8: "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who trusts in Him."

Ephesians 3:20-21: "Now to Him (God) who is able to do exceedingly,
abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."

God, help us to never put you in a box!

Monday, May 11, 2009

On Top of the World!

This Sports Illustrated Cover is from 5 years ago after the 2004 Olympic Team won the Gold Medal in the Athens Olympics. I played 1st Base for that team. We were one of the best teams in the world ever in softball! We went 9-0 and scored 51 runs and gave up only 1 run the entire tournament. Our pitchers were almost perfect, our defense was flawless and our offense was unstoppable! They put the title "The REAL Dream Team" on the cover to show how dominant we were that year.

I enjoy looking back at these moments. It makes me smile to remember standing on the podium with my teammates next to me, my husband in the stands and hearing the National Anthem being played as the American flag was raised! Talk about having pride for the United States of America! We are so blessed to live in this country. It's a moment that passed by so quickly, yet is remembered forever! As I reflect, I can't help but remember how much time, effort, sacrifice, support and dedication that it took to get to that platform. I experienced that "once in a lifetime" experience three different times! I am so thankful for the memories, the friendships, the travel and the life lessons learned along the way. Now I'm making new memories with my family and friends and look forward to what lies ahead!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Surprise

First of all, Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms out there! It's a day to celebrate ALL the hard work! I am blessed to have an amazing Mom, and am a mom to my 3 little boys. It can be challenging at times, but nothing could ever be more rewarding! I am so thankful for my family!
Tommy surprised me with dinner by the water in Newport Beach and a ride on a gondola last night. He had to fly to Baltimore early this morning and would be missing Mother's Day so he planned a date night for us. I was completely surprised and so thankful! I am proud to be the mother of his children. We had a great night and ended it the right way- with Balboa Bars (the ice cream, of course!). Read the verses below from the Bible. I pray to be a Proverbs 31 woman!

Proverbs 31: 10, 11: "Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life."

Proverbs 31:28-30: "Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.' Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Heading Home?

In the sport of softball, the goal is to get on base and score, and to keep the opponent from scoring. If you score more runs than the other team, you win. Put more simply, bring baserunners home! My teammates and I helped eachother get "home" many times during my career and I have 3 Gold Medals to show for it now. I want to talk about another "home"- our heavenly home. The Bible tells us that Jesus told the disciples that He was going to heaven and preparing a place for those who trust in Him. I look forward to my future home and to those who are already there! Are you heading to this "home"? Put your trust in Jesus and you can be assured there will be a mansion waiting just for you!

John 14:1-6 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me (Jesus). In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know."
Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?"
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."


Proverbs 17:17: "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."
Jake, Drew and Luke Amico

REST in the Lord

Our lives are always very busy, but the Bible tells us to rest in the Lord.
Just a reminder! (picture: Luke Amico: 3 wks old- 2007)

Psalm 37:7: "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."

Being COOL!

We all want to be cool- let's admit it! No matter what age you are, or what stage of life you're in, everybody wants to fit in. We all want to be accepted! It's alright to want to fit in, but it's not right to sacrifice morals and values to fit in. If people don't accept you for making good choices, they are not people you want to be friends with anyway! Stand up for what God says is right and you'll always be in GOOD Standing with Him! That's what matters most!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sometimes we feel like "Life's a Party". . .

Sometimes we give in to our temptations. . .

Sometimes we have to wait for something we REALLY want. . .

Sometimes we feel like we're just along for the ride. . .

Sometimes we don't get our way. . .

We don't like it when we're told "no" or when we don't get our way!

And sometimes we get exactly what we want!

Whether we feel like life's a party, we get tempted and fall, we have to wait for an answer, we feel like we're just along for the ride, we are told "no" and we don't like it, or we get exactly what we want, we have a Father in Heaven who loves us more that we can fanthom!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in All your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

Life can be Messy!

Sometimes life can be messy, but there is One who can clean anything up! His Name is God!

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Choices and Results

Proverbs 15:6 "In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but in the revenue of the wicked is trouble".
I was giving hitting lessons and when my student swung at a bad pitch and popped it up, I said to her "make good choices". One key to successful hitting is to make good decisions on your pitch selection. The chances for success greatly increase when you swing at a ball that is in the hitting zone. Immediately my thoughts went to the idea that when we make bad choices in life, the results will many times be an outcome that is not good for us. We all know right from wrong, but choosing right, even when it's hard and unpopular, can be hard to do. I encourage you to choose what is right, and when you do, your chances for a favorable outcome will greatly increase. For Christians, God will bless those who are obedient to Him. Proverbs 10:6a says "Blessings are on the head of the righteous". We all want success and it starts with decisions we make!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Here is a picture from my playing days (Athen, Greece; 2004 Olympics). It's been a long time but hasn't felt like it since I went straight from the field to being a mom of 3 little boys (well, you know what I mean). Every year seems to be quicker than the previous. I titled my blog "Stepping Up to the Plate in Faith" because I really want to encourage others out there to use their strengths, talents, interests and passions to be all that God wants them to be. I have had many opportunities to share my Olympic stories and my faith, and find that sometimes we all just need a little encouragement to get back into the game! When things get hard, it can seem like all we have left is faith, but that is exactly what I want to point out. We can go to our foundation, our Bible and believe the promises God has given us in His Word as long as we are His children. I hope to post ideas that God puts on my heart as a reminder to "finish this race" set before us. And not just finish it, but finish strong! Our journey will one day come to an end. It's what we do in the meantime that will matter one day.