I've been thinking about doing this for a few weeks now. Actually, a few months even...
In this blog, I keep track of my stories and my thoughts. Sometimes I include Gareth since he's such a big part of my life, but really this blog is about ME. Since we learned that we are expecting, though, I've wanted to open a new blog that tells OUR story.
The oldest of 10 children. Wife of 37 years. Mother to Jane (34) and John (32). Breast cancer survivor. A school teacher for too many years to count... who, by the way, will be retiring in a matter of weeks!!
Here she is at our wedding last June. As beautiful as ever.
When I found out a few months ago that Gareth and I are expecting our first child this October, my mother was the person I was most excited to tell...
She was SO happy! I could almost hear her dancing over the phone ;)
And so, today also finds me looking forward to being a mother.
Yes, Gareth and I are preparing for baby (we'll find out the gender in 1 more month), and this Mother's Day is a milestone. The first holiday that we see through the eyes of family. It is an adjustment, but one that has brought us closer and made us a stronger couple.
There are likely many more adjustments on the horizon. We can't wait!
I spent last weekend in Nashville... and I'm exhausted!!
We kicked off the weekend with a family reunion. Five of my Winkel cousins, my brother, and I ran the Country Music Rock & Roll Half Marathon together on Saturday. We survived the distance
...AND the weather!!
But the very best part was getting to visit, to catch up with one another, to know each other again. It didn't take long to remember why I loved running around with them all as a young girl...
Each one has turned into a remarkable adult.
On Sunday, I reconnected with a dear friend over coffee. I haven't seen Jessica in nearly 7 years. We spent a few short hours catching up with one another. Sharing our joys and hopes for the future.
She is just as kind and loving and beautiful as I remember.
Jessica happened to suggest a Starbucks in Brentwood, TN. Just a few blocks from the office building of one of my very favorites: Dave Ramsey. It wasn't nearly as exciting as it would have been to visit during office hours, but it still made me smile.
A big thanks to my brother who was kind enough to assist with the drive-by...
A few weeks ago I told one of the girls I coach, "my Grandma can hit harder than that!"
It was just a figure of speach. I was trying to make a point. I didn't really mean that my Grandma could hit the volleyball harder.
But, it got me thinking about my Grandma...
Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my Grandma Winkel. We lived in a nearby city, and she babysat for me a lot. As a young girl, we had our own routine. She knew little things about me... that to a 4 year-old is the entire world.
She knew that my favorite color was orange. She always cut my sandwiches in squares. She always handed me peanuts in the tin cap. We took naps together. She let me sit on her lap in the car. She knew that I couldn't live without my blanket... or my thumb. She knew that Alvin and the Chipmunks was my favorite record, and that Sesame Street was my favorite TV Show.
She knew me...
I was Grandma's girl.
As I have grown older, and reflected on this early relationship, I feel special and loved. I was not her only grandchild or even her only granddaughter. She had 9 children and many more grandchildren than that.
But she made me feel like a favorite.
My Grandma may not be able to hit a volleyball harder than the girl I was coaching. But she is tough. As I was saying good-bye to her after a visit a few years back, she gave me this piece of advice...
"Now, be good. But if you can't be good, be safe."
I was in Indianapolis this weekend with the girls volleyball team I have been helping coach this Spring.
We had a successful weekend!
We didn't win every game, but we did take 3rd place in the Open Division, which allowed us to qualify for Nationals in Reno, NV, this summer. All of this without our head coach, who was waiting patiently in Austin for the arrival of his baby girls.
Like I said... SUCCESS.
Growing up, I spent more weekends than I can count at these tournaments. Most of them in Omaha and Lincoln. Others: Denver, Minneapolis, Tampa, New Orleans, even Austin.
I still love the sound of whistles blowing and balls being played as I walk through a convention center. It brings back the pure joy that volleyball often brought me as a young girl.
Now, I don't consider myself a great coach.
I was a good player, but coaching is not my strong suit. Lineups, timeouts, strategy... these things do not come naturally to me. I like to teach the game, but that is not all that is required of a good coach.
I signed up this season to help pay my bills. Plain and simple. It has been a surprise to me, though, how much I have enjoyed the experience... and how much it has benefited me personally.
To reflect on my own experiences with this sport... To remember who I was. To be certain now of who I am.