Monday, November 30, 2009

USA Softball: Day at the Park

J.T., Jennie, Laura, Me, Natasha, Tairia and Lisa

Last week we went to La Mirada Regional Park to
visit with some girls from the USA Softball Team.
Jennie Finch and Lisa Fernandez both brought their
little guys, Ace (3) and Antonio (almost 4). I had
my three boys and Laura Berg brought her 5-yr-old
neice, Kylie. Jennie also had her nephew with
her. There were lots of little ones running around
while we were catching up on what each of us has
been up to. A couple girls are still playing (J.T.,
Natasha and Jennie), a couple are coaching (Lisa
and Tairia) and Laura is waiting to soon enter
the police academy, while she does clinics and
lessons. It was so fun to see the girls and hear
about their lives. We are all doing different
things now but there are common bonds that will
last forever: our love of softball, our memories
from our playing days together, and our friendships!

All the kids: La Mirada Park had a huge lake with
a lot of ducks and geese. The kids Loved it!

Laura with the boys: she is ALWAYS the FUN one!

Drew feeding the duck

Brothers working together

Me with the boys

Gina (Antonio's aunt and USA Softball Babysitter) brought
a cool blow up ball for the boys to play with

Jake influencing Ace!

Trying to get one last picture: the boys are OVER IT!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Serving Others: "It is more blessed to GIVE than to Receive"

"In everything I did, I showed you by this kind of
hard work we must help the weak, remembering the
words the Lord Jesus himself said, "It is more
blessed to give than to receive."
Luke in the book of Acts 20:35

Some people feel like people in church are so
hypocritical. They say that people act and talk
one way at church and act another way around people
at work or their families and friends. Some
people get frustrated with people in church who
don't love the Lord with all their hearts and
are those people who act completely different
outside of church. They get frustrated because
they know it gives Christians a bad name. I've
heard people say, "If the people in church would
love like Jesus, and live like Jesus, our country
would look a lot different." In some ways this
is very true. If every person who "calls" himself
or herself a Christian lived the way the Bible calls
us to live, a lot more people might want to know
Jesus too. But then again, maybe not. Think about
it, there were MANY people who lived WHEN Jesus
was on earth and they still chose to dismiss His
claim to be God's Son, and the Living God himself
in the flesh. Many of those people even helped
put him to death on a cross!

The reason for today's post is that I've found
the people who "walk" the way they "talk". It
is always in serving that I find these people.
I help serve a couple times a month in the 2-yr.
old room at our church, but there are people who
serve once to twice on a Sunday (we have 3 services)
and also on Wednesday night because there is a
need. They are "giving" their time and energy
so others can be blessed, but the Bible reminds
us, that we will be blessed as we give!

Today I went to Pomona First Baptist to help
prepare food for the homeless. Last year I went
a few times and I was out of town half of the times
this year that they fed them, but I finally made
a point to go. I took Jake with me (he went with
me each time last year) and my mom also went. It
was so awesome to serve others with my own family
by my side. My jobs today were to peel potatoes
(a ton of them!), peel and slice carrots, and
cut and prepare plates with pie for the homeless.
I did a tiny bit compared to the men and women
who are there each month and are committed to
serving the homeless. I was so blessed as I talked
with a few ladies who go to my church that I've
never met before. We talked about many different
things that always brought us back to our faith.
These people love the Lord with all their hearts!
They are loving others and serving others and
giving to others. These people are "living" out
their faith and they increase my faith. It is
exciting to be around people like them.

If you haven't served before, find somewhere to
serve. You will be blessed as you bless others!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thank You God for my Family

I am thankful for many things, but most of all
for my family and friends!

Thanksgiving 2009

Happy 10th Anniversary to my little brother,
Keith, and his wife, Jessica!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bless Others

Our homeschool group is doing one service project
a month to teach our kids to help others. This month
we put together a basket with a turkey, potatoes,
green beans, corn, stuffing, pumpkin pie,
and much more. We were able to give a
family we know a Thanksgiving dinner.

We want to teach our children to bless
others with the blessings they have received.
This year God put on my heart that instead
of saving up money when I have extra, I need to
bless others because I am blessed. I believe if
we are wise with how we spend our money and are
giving to others who need help, God will
bless us. If we are in need, I believe God
will take care of our needs as well through
others who do the same!

I thank God for all our blessings, but I
also that Him that we can bless others
with those blessings. Whether it is
giving money, helping others, praying
for others, or encouraging them, we can
all be a blessing!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgivings in the Past

I love this time of year. When I think of
Thanksgiving, I think of family, food and
hanging out. I am going to start taking a
group picture with the timer so I can get
a shot of everyone from now on! Here are a
few pictures from the past few years:

Thanksgiving 2008

All the cousins

Me and my brother and sister

Thanksgiving 2007
At my cousin's house

Me with Jake, Drew and Hannah (my cousin's

Luke: 7 months old

Thanksgiving 2006
We spent the week with Tommy's family in
Orlando, FL and at the Disney Parks

The Family (I took the picture)

This week, out of the 14 of us staying under
one roof, there were 10 who had the flu! I
was one of the 4 who did not get it!
Me, Jake and Drew

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This Week. . .

Luke got stuck on top of his car and was
screaming for help

Luke dropped the bag of goldfish everywhere and
ran away (Drew thought it was funny and ran to
pose) I now take pictures so I can look back and
laugh. I'm not laughing when it happens.

He learned how to clean up a mess

I got my boys to pose for a picture and smile

My family came over to celebrate my brother's
birthday. . .this is the baby of the group:
Tristan: 18 months old

Drew found a coat and tie that used to be Jake's

and started doing some model poses for us
(this kid is already into fashion. . .scary!)

Luke wanted to be like his dad: on the couch with
the remote in his hand and something to drink

Luke got to play with bubbles from his brother's
bath and loved it

We went to an art class at the Library and
the kids got their faces and arms painted

I took the group: Drew, Micah, Jake, Bryson and Taylor

We got lots of face and arm paintings!
By the end, we had 7 dragons, 2 spiders, a snake
and a flower

Jake made a not-so-good choice to cut the rope
holding the bale of hay together and

He learned to clean up hay!

What started out as a nice gesture from a friend
to drop off a bale of hay to use to decorate for
Fall, ended up in a Huge mess! Jake thought it
would be fun to get some scissors and cut open
the rope holding the hay. He learned a hard lesson.

These are a couple things this week, not including
3 pumpkins torn into 15 pieces with seeds everywhere
in my backyard. My kids thought it would be fun
with their cousins to get out pumpkin seeds from
their pumpkins, but the 4 yr. olds went crazy tearing
the pumpkins apart. What a mess! This is my life
with little boys.

Operation Christmas Child

This year we participated in Operation Christmas
put on by Samaritan's Purse. Franklin
Graham, the son of Billy Graham, is the President
of Samaritan's Purse. Through Operation Christmas
, you are able to send a shoebox filled with
goodies for children across the world who have very
little to nothing. My boys enjoyed picking out toys,
clothes, candy and school supplies for 2 boys their
ages. You can choose the age and either girl or boy
when sending your shoe box. It was a great way to
talk to my kids about how blessed we are and how much
we have here in America. We should bless others with
the blessings we have received.


Crystl, Lori and Me

I recently taught at a softball clinic in Las Vegas
with a couple of my teammates from the Olympic
Team. Between the 3 of us (Crystl Bustos,
Lori Harrigan, and me) we have 9 Olympic
medals(8 gold and 1 silver). We were able
to teach hitting and defense and Lori taught
pitching in the morning session. It's always
a great time hanging out with my friends from
the USA Team and helping others to get better!

Crystl showing her power and Lori showing her
speed (she was throwing HARD for not throwing
in 5 years!)

Some of the athletes at the clinic

Friday, November 20, 2009

Soccer: It keeps me young (at least I pretend it does)

Softball is the sport that took me around the world, and
gave me 3 Olympic Gold Medals

But soccer is the sport that I play these days!

I would say I love sports, but that isn't completely
true. I love to play sports and I love to
. My husband loves sports and
there is a big difference between us. He will
faithfully support his pro-teams by wearing their
game day jerseys (both home and away) because of
course that will bring them good luck. He knows
who plays on what teams in all different sports.
Don't ask me any names or positions, I don't have
time to watch it because I'm chasing my sons around.
OK, maybe it's because I would choose to do other
things before sitting and watching.

That is, unless, I get to play! I play co-ed indoor
soccer on Friday nights and I can't get enough of it.
I played two games tonight and I have some bruises
and stiffness to prove it. I crack up leaving the
field because my competitiveness comes out the second
I take the field. Tonight the other team was pushing
quite a bit, even when they didn't have the ball.
I am all about fairness, but that's not so good when
I'm competing because then I want to push back (that's
only fair, right?). I get a little loud, and even
caught myself yelling to one of my male teammates to
go hard into the girl on the other team because she
was trying to take him out. Now, that's where I need
to step back and remember that it's a game, and more
importantly, I need to be a good example of my faith.

Competition can bring out the best and worst in people.
People sometimes accomplish more than they thought possible
and work with others in team sports, but people can also
get angry and frustrated when things do not go well.
When I react and get frustrated, I walk away and
tell myself that I need to keep quiet and
just play. I need to be a good example. Using your body
a little to go into a player is fun when you are protecting
the ball. The physical part is what I love about
soccer. I love racing to a ball, or taking the ball
away from a guy who is quicker and stronger than me.
I love sprinting and beating a college age female
soccer player to the ball even though I'm WAY older
than her! One day I told Jake after the game, "Jake, I
may be old, but I can still hang with these young girls!".
I love a challenge. I like breathing hard after
sprinting up and back because it means I'm getting
some kind of workout in! I even love having my mom in
the stands cheering me on, just like old-times.

My friend, Amber, who I hadn't seen since High
School asked me to play 2 years ago and it has
been such a blast. I've been thrown into the
wall by a guy, bruised my foot, really bruised
my ribs, took a chunk of skin out of a finger
(the wall had a hole and my finger found it),
had many sore muscles, but it is so worth it!
I love to compete! I'll keep working on being
a good example on the field at all times too!

Sold Out

"Sold Out" is the term I used when I made
the choice to "wholeheartedly" follow Jesus
Christ and His example. I had said a prayer
to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior as a
young girl, but didn't realize until college
what it really meant to call Him LORD.
Everyone likes the idea that there could be
a Savior that gets them to heaven, but few
answer the call to obedience when we make Jesus
the LORD of our lives. There is a difference
between 1. asking God for forgiveness when we make
mistakes (until the next time), going to church when
it fits in our schedule, praying sometimes AND
2. saying "God, you can have it ALL! I am
yours. Take my life and show me what You have
planned for my life. I want your will above mine."

From my experience, when I started to obey in all
areas, God started to work in my life so much more.
I was the one who was deciding when and where I would
obey God. I still would make mistakes (and I still do)
but there was a heaviness that came from the conviction
of the Holy Spirit when I would disobey. The Bible
says, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are
few." Many people want God to bless them in what they are
doing, but few will ask, "God, what do You want me to do?"
It is when God leads and directs that the results are
beyond what we could do on our own. It takes waiting,
growing, and trusting to be in the position of following God.
He will use those who are willing and obedient and
thankfully He doesn't leave us when we do our own thing
and ask Him to follow us. We just might not be receiving
God's best in our lives. I strive to be "sold out" for
Christ because when I die, nothing else will matter more.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lord, Direct my Path!

Proverb 3:5-6 says:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He shall direct your paths."

An Olympic teammate of mine used to sign
this verse when she signed autographs
and this was one of the first verses
that I memorized. I think most people
who believe in God (and many who may
not even have a personal relationship
with Him) would want God to direct their
paths. We know that there are a lot of
ups and downs we go through in life and
I want to stay on the path that God has
prepared for me so that I am protected
by Him. That means when it gets hard, He
knows exactly where I'm at and He'll give
me the strength to get through it. When
things are going well I want to be close
to Him and let others know that God is
the giver of all good things.

I just wanted to point out that there are
conditions with this verse, just like with
many of God's promises in the Bible. There
is God's part, but there is also our part.
God's part is that He will direct our paths,
but only after we have been obedient with
His directions. In this verse, we see that
we need to trust in the Lord in ALL our ways,
not just sometimes. We need to trust Him and
turn to Him no matter what is going on in our
lives. We need to rely on Him for truth, guidance
and strength. We need to trust that He knows
what is best for those who love Him, even when
it doesn't look like it's best because things are
so hard. Look at what the disciples went through
in the Bible (prison, beatings, mocking) and yet
they knew it was worth it to proclaim God's truth
wherever they went.
We also need to "lean not on our own understanding."
That means that we need to ask for God's wisdom.
We need to trust and look to Him because we will
never understand all of God's ways. The Bible
tells us that "God's ways are higher than our
ways" and He sees the BIG picture when we can only
see a tiny spot in the picture. When we ask God
what He is trying to teach us through our experiences,
He will reveal it to us. Remember to ask Him, and
expect Him to answer.
Finally, we need to acknowledge Him in ALL our ways.
Wow, this is a hard thing to do, especially in a society
that is trying to kick God out of everything. We need
to speak up when given the opportunity to bring glory
to God, but we also acknowledge Him with how we talk, what
we watch on TV, what music we listen to and how we dress,
among other things. God will not direct our paths when
we are choosing our own paths. We need to obey His Word
and we will be greatly blessed (even in the hard stuff)!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Snow Time: Fun. . .for some!

On our way home from Reno we stopped off
the road when we saw some snow. There was
a small layer on the ground and just enough
for some small snowballs. We jumped out
to have a little fun, but pretty soon, Luke
was doing what he does often. . .crying!