Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fantasy Fizzle

I have to say this Fantasy Football thing is a ride. Amazing how it can change from week to week; bad, good, mediocre, bad. Well, that's sort of the state of my team. I keep messing with it just to see if I can improve from week to week - moving players around, shifting according to the schedule, attempting to guess which QB or RB will have a good week based on all sorts of statistics and opinions. I am learning: 1. Don't depend on the computer to draft your players. 2. Don't think that one great week will lead to another 3. Players get injured and mess up the whole plan. 4. Don't have 6 players have a bye week at the same time. 5. Don't believe the pre-season hype. 6. Don't overthink or you will put the wrong player on the bench.

For this season, my goal is just to stay out of the cellar. For next year, draft a decent QB, a couple good WRs and RBs, a better than average defense. I've figured out that generally TEs don't help your point total a whole lot and kickers just need to be consistent. So live and learn. It's a long season, so maybe by the end of it I will have figured a few things out.

Eternal Perspective

I've been reflecting a lot lately due to losing Mitch, praying for Baby Seth, visiting my parents, reading "The Shack", studying Revelation 1-3, listening to Pastor Glenn's sermon series..... Sometimes I think God has to bring me up short, hit me over the head, shake things up to remind me about eternal perspective. It's so easy to get caught up in the day to day routine, buzzing through life and not spending enough time with the proper priorities. Consider me reminded, God!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Time of Respite

Just what the "Doctor" ordered - some time away. I really needed to just step out of my life for a few days to reenergize, get some perspective, and just breathe. I have spent the last couple days with my Montana family. Even the drive over with amazing scenery and some good tunes helped. The colors are just starting to turn in the Rockies and I'd be hard pressed to find a more beautiful depiction of God's creation.

While here, between visiting with my Mom and Dad and sisters, I read "The Shack". It's a pretty amazing book that I may have to read twice to absorb. It rattles the cages of our assumptions about God. it challenges what we may have come to believe about His purposes and ways with us. It is a book that leads to pondering about our lives and how we are living them. The section about judging God gave me a lot of food for thought. If you haven't read it, do. You will think of tons of people you will want to share it with. It isn't the Bible; it may not even be completely accurate; it may take some liberties that are somewhat off-base. But it's thought provoking, endearing and challenging. I highly recommend it.

One more day here, then I head back home. I'm ready to tackle life there again, though parts of it continue to be hard. With the help of "Papa" (read "The Shack") I will push onward and upward....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

When Life Hurts

I've spent the last two days just trying to absorb the fact the Mitch is gone. I didn't see him for many weeks as he was at UW Medical Center hoping to get to transplant. Because he was away for so long, it doesn't seem real that he is really gone. I know where he is, but I still keep feeling like he will show up at church or drop me an email. Usually going to the memorial helps with the closure, but I will be out of town so won't have the opportunity to experience that. I have tried today to picture him in heaven, but so far it just all seems kind of unreal. My heart is so heavy for his family. Outliving your kids is not how it's supposed to go. Losing your husband of only a few weeks just seems unfair. Saying goodbye to a 28-year-old brother is a tough one. I will come to a time of celebrating for Mitch's victory over death, but for now I'm just sad.

Today Kathryn called me to say that Seth is doing poorly. His health is deteriorating and they think his brain injury is "cascading". I went to the hospital and arrived when they were doing an MRI to see if the damage is worse than before. His parents are devastated. Even though I've seen that same scene before 20 or so years ago, I felt unequipped to be of help. I'm so glad I got to hold Seth the night before his surgery when he was all smiley and talkative. This little boy and his family are in God's hands and we just pray for a miracle.

Though my faith is strong and I totally trust in God and his dealings with us, it's still painful. I know He knows that pain. I know He knows what's best. I know someday I will understand all of that. I know that just because we believe, we are not immune to the hardest moments of a broken world. And I know that because we go through pain, it doesn't take away from God's mercy and love for us. But for tonight, I'm kinda done. I don't have the energy left to be positive or hopeful. I'm emotionally tapped. I'm too tired to pray even though I am trying. I'm thankful for a new day tomorrow and am ready to take on whatever that day brings good or bad.

"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:4-5

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mitch Steps into Eternity

It's a sad day for our church and for anyone that knew Mitch Thomas. Mitch died this morning from the effects of the leukemia he has been battling for the last 16 months. To know Mitch was to know his voracious appetite for things of the Lord, his exuberance for life, his caring about people, his joy in the many relationships he knew. I will miss his presence here, his popping into the church office to chat, and our deep conversations about what it's like to live with the thing called cancer. But I rejoice that he has stepped into the glorious eternity God prepared for him.
Way to go, Mitch!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Current News...

Updates: Seth is slightly improved today and more responsive. They can see neurological damage on the eeg, but the surgeon was more optomistic that he will improve. He responded to his daddy's voice today and that made EVERYONE feel better. Keep praying for an amazing, "unexplainable" recovery! On the flip side, Mitch is not doing well and the family has been called to Seattle. While I have prepared myself for this eventuality, it still leaves me with a very heavy heart.

Now, this will seem like a weird transition, but the distraction is helpful if not a little disturbing....

.....Fantasy Football Week 3. Boo! Hiss! BAD! I dropped two places this week as my players were pretty much non-productive. I have to stick with Delhomme in week 4 as my other TWO choices have bye weeks as do three of my other players AND my kicker and defense. It's not going to be pretty! I have plugged as many holes as I can and just hope for the best. Seems like the weeks I have little time to play with it, the better I do. As I am headed to Montana this weekend to spend some time with my Mom and Dad and probably won't even THINK about football, I'll probably do great!

The season is definitely turning - there's threat of frost tonight. Save the tomatoes!!!! It's a time of transition in many ways, not just the seasons. This thing called life definitely has it's seasons, too. Some are warmer and more fun than others. Some we just shiver against and wait for change. God does a pretty great thing by making each one have a beginning and an end. I guess we couldn't appreciate the warm ones if we didn't have the others. So I accept the turning, bracing for the cold, and anticipating the next warmth. Bring it on!

Friday, September 19, 2008

More Prayer Needed

Our baby Seth had a bad episode on Wednesday night - stopped breathing and heart stopped. They think it was due to a blockage in his breathing tube. They were able to resusitate him and he has done well since. Oxygen sats are up and stable; he is off the ventilator. Now the concern is that they did a brain MRI and think there may be some residual damage from the episode. Only time will tell. He is still on sedation and it may just be a bad day for him, but Kathryn feels he is not quite himself. They do not need one more thing to worry about, so we are praying that it's only temporary. Please do continue to hold this family up in prayer. As I know well, it's not fun to have a sick baby and the stress is HUGE. I'll update when we know more....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

FF Week 2 - Moving Up

So this week I didn't have time to worry about my Fantasy Football team or even watch the games. The result? I scored second highest in points. My hero is Arizona wide receiver Anquan Boldin - he scored 43 points. If only I had a decent QB, I could have easily won Week 2. Now mind you, I am still in 6th place out of 9, but considering how dismal my first week was, this is encouraging. I refuse to even acknowledge that my husband has 78 more points than me and is in first place. As long as I'm not in the cellar.....

And now, week three. I picked up QB Matt Cassel just to have another option at that position. I'm still not sure who to start - having three choices is harder than two! I probably won't mess with my line up a whole lot, but wondering if I should move Torry Holt into a starting position as he had a good week on my bench in Week 2 or would it be better to go with Anthony Gonzalez from the Colts? Input appreciated! I have to gain some ground on my husband so he won't gloat so much.

Interpretation Needed

This was part of an art exhibit in a new sculpture park on the Seattle waterfront. Any guesses as to what this piece of art is all about?

Sunny Seattle

I know Seattle has a rep for always being gray, but when the sun shines there, it's one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen. We drove over on Saturday to attend a wedding and had some extra time so we headed down to the piers. They have recently completed a new sculpture park (very artsy - very Seattle) so we walked around and checked out all the exhibits. It's right on the waterfront and the art was marginal, but the walk in the park was awesome.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What Coulda Been

Trav shared this funny website on his blog. Thought you might enjoy "me" through the decades.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Newest Seth Update

Kathryn reports that they did take Seth back to surgery last night and found they had nicked an artery and that was where the bleeding was coming from. Can you imagine trying to work on a teeny tiny heart with teeny tiny arteries and veins? Apparently it was only a small setback as his condition improved after they fixed the problem. Keep praying for his QUICK recovery!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Urgent Prayer Needed

Just got an update from Kathryn that they were thinking Seth would have to go back into surgery due to the fact that he was bleeding from his chest tubes. Please pray that they can fix any leaks and get him back on the road to recovery. Pray for his parents, too, as they go through this worrisome process.

Seattle Here We Come

It's been a busy week so I haven't had much time to fret about Fantasy Football Week 2. I did make some changes in my roster and just hope for the best since to really be good at this, I think you would have to study up a lot more than I have time for. With the new players I picked up and the trying to figure out opponents and what that means for my players, etc., I have pretty much decided I will probably decide wrong anyway. But, as I have confessed, I'm a little competitive and I can't just give up, so I will continue to play the game and hope for the best.

I spent last evening at Sacred Heart Hospital with Baby Seth before his big surgery today. I got to cuddle with him a little and pray with his mom and dad. He came through the surgery today but is having some trouble with oxygen levels so last I heard they were thinking of intubating him. We had hoped his recovery from this one would be easier than the last, and maybe ultimately it will be. For now we need to just keep praying.

We're off on another adventure as we head off to Seattle for Chris and Andrea's wedding. We have known Chris since he was two and it will be fun to watch him marry his high school sweetheart. Our families were close as our kids were growing up and we went to the same church. Then Chris and Andrea both went to SPU with Whitney, so they reconnected. Chris was the d.j. at Whit and Travis's wedding. Whit, Trav and Alex are all going along. In keeping with our belief that weddings are important, we are happy to be making the trip. Not to mention a road trip with our kids is about the most fun I can think of....

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fantasy Football Woes

Yep, this pretty much sums up Week One.

Well, my lack of football saavy and letting the computer pick for me was definitely evident Week One. Matt Hasselbeck and his offensive crew were a bust against Buffalo. Two of my wide receivers scored less than 5 points and the highest point players were on my bench. Two of my bench players got injured and my team looks a little like a train wreck. I'm stressing out over which of my running backs and quarterbacks to start this week and something tells me I will end up with the right guy on the bench. This is fun, right? Travis assures me that the loser this year gets first picks next year - there's always hope, right? Except that I probably will know no more about football next year. Oh well, it's fun to have something to whine about.....

It's definitely feeling fallish around here in the mornings and evenings --- AAACK! I'm not done with summer yet! I'm not ready for being cold and bundling. I dread snow and icy roads. Winter puts such a downer on fall. I miss summer already....shorts and flip flops, absorbing Vitamin D on my deck, long evenings.......SIGH. No Maui this year......double SIGH!

Can you tell I have a Monday state of mind today? I think I'll go for a walk to inspire an attitude adjustment. I'll try not to think about whether Jake Delhomme will do better or worse than Matt Hasselbeck and whether to start Reggie Bush or Maurice Jones-Drew and who I could pick up to replace my two injured wide receivers...... Help me out here, people!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Time to Send Up Some Flares

From time to time I have mentioned Baby Seth who was born with a severe heart defect. He came through his first surgery well and now it's time to do Phase 2. He will have the "Glenn" procedure on Sept. 11. Please add Seth and his parents, Kathryn and Leland (as well as bros and sis) to your prayer list for that day. He is adorable; huge eyes and awesome smile. You know me and babies, I would love to get my hands on him more, but they have to be very careful not to expose him to stuff, so I've had to satisfy myself with playing with his toes. I'll be praying BIG time on the 11th.

Also I have mentioned my friend, Mitch Thomas, son of our former pastor. He has a very aggressive form of leukemia. It appears there isn't much more they can do for him and they are sending him home after battling for 16 months. We all know God can do miracles, and we pray for that, but we also trust God in how he cares for Mitch and what his will is. Please pray for the family (especially his new wife Chelsea) as it is hardest on them. "May the peace of God that passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus".

Labor Day Family Adventures

Our old stomping grounds.

Keith and I haven't made the trek to Eugene recently. Part of that is due to the fact that I have been running back and forth to Montana to be with my dad during his ill health (he's doing much better) and Seattle for weddings. Part of it is that it IS a trek and you really need at least four days to do it. We have done it in less and it's painful.

Anyway, over the long Labor Day weekend we piled in the car and drove straight through. By Portland we were both getting fidgety so we passed the time by my reading out loud a new book by Craig Groeschel called "It". It's an excellent book about church life that has been filtering around the office. "It" helped pass the time quite nicely. Driving into Eugene always evokes a lot of memories as we both attended Northwest Christian College and that's where we met. We were happy to pile OUT of the car at Mom Cone's. We spent two days with her then drove up to Portland, had lunch with Keith's brother, David, and his wife, Rockie, then headed to Bob and Debbie Schmid's for dinner and to spend the night. Good times all around. Spending time with the Schmones (Schmid-Cone - we've officially adopted each other as family) always results in laughing till we cry and talking till wee hours of the night (except Keith who now has to go to bed no later than 9:00 as he is a senior citizen).

As our parents have begun to get older, I see a trend. Whenever you go to their houses, they try to give you things. I know that they are just wanting to "take care of business" so it will be easy on us kids later on. But it still feels awkward. I have expressed this to my parents and Mom Cone and promised them that there would be no fighting over "stuff" when they are gone. My mom and dad have become minimalists - they don't want a lot of stuff and have it pared down to pretty much the basics and a few photos and sentimental items. Mom Cone, on the other hand, seems to be waiting for the next depression and she admits that she can't throw anything away. Her house is FULL - every nook and cranny_ of items that she enjoys and has collected over the years. It's not a criticism; merely an observation. You can spend hours just cruising her house and yard looking at all the stuff and wondering about the story behind it. Every time we have visited she has encouraged us to "claim" our favorites. We have not been able to do that as it just seems morose somehow. But this time, Keith gave in and pointed out a couple things he wouldn't mind having. The funny part was, that though the house is FULL of stuff, every thing he picked out was already spoken for. He finally just said, "Mom, just give me what you want me to have." We laughed about it most of the way back to Portland. And we did come home with a carload of things she wanted us to have.

The reason I mention any of this is that now that I'm 50 and Keith 55, I'm already looking around my house and thinking, "We have too much stuff! We must purge NOW! Maybe we could just keep a chair or two to sit in front of the television. Surely someone who shops at Goodwill would be delighted with our cast offs. We could eat on paper plates! We could sleep on the floor! We could share towels and toothbrushes and......" Okay, that's where I draw the line. But I do think there are a few cupboards to clean out and a garage in desperate need of organization. I'm starting this weekend.....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fantasy Football and other Fall Frights

I'm SLOWLY (kicking and screaming) accepting that fall is right around the corner. Now mind you, there are certain things about fall that I love - the changing leaves, crisp mornings, apple cider and football. I love going to live games and have sat through a myriad of high school games as Travis played, Whitney cheered, and Alex drummed in halftime shows. I used to take in Cougar games to watch Jason Hanson set all sorts of kicking records at WSU (he was our neighbor at the time.) I always participate in the office football pool (just want to point out that I won last year - I have to keep bragging about this as it will likely never happen again). But this year, Travis invited me to be in his Fantasy Football League. Keep in mind that I barely watch pro football - the Seahawks if they play on Sunday, and usually the playoffs and Superbowl. I know a few players, but don't have a clue about their stats. I overhear injury reports on ESPN and the latest doings of players from the FF freaks in my family.

Due to my lack of knowledge among other lame excuses, I have resisted the urge to get involved in Fantasy Football even though every member of my family participates. I am well aware of a couple of things: 1. I would feel overwhelmed with the process and 2. I would get completely competitive and obsess about the whole thing to the point that I will spend hours online trying to figure it all out so I won't look like an idiot. And it begins.....

Travis called on Thursday and asked me to join. I am hard pressed to tell Trav "no" about anything. So I said yes and then had a complete panic attack. I had to get ready to leave for the weekend. Our draft was Saturday. I wouldn't have computer access while I was gone so I madly tried to set up my player rankings so that the computer would pick as many of my favorites as I could get my hands on. Since I didn't have enough favorites to make up a team and also the fact that my favorites were not necessarily good, I had to do some research. So instead of cleaning and packing, I was checking out the online predictions. I was scrambling together a player list and hoping I had it set up right. I was actually nervous at 9:55 on Saturday (this is why I usually have the sense to resist these sorts of situations for myself). Keith was hogging his laptop and not telling me a thing. I was pacing and pretending I could care less. Lies! When I learned who the computer picked for me, I was not enamored with the system. I then had to learn how to trade, add, drop, rearrange my roster. YIKES! What are waivers? What does 90% ownership mean? How do I bribe my husband into trading quarterbacks?

And so you see my problem. I can never do things halfway. I can't just relax and enjoy being part of something. I have to at least attempt to do it WELL. I can see myself over the next few weeks -- absorbed in the internet chat about players and teams, watching every game on t.v. so I can see how my players do, seeking advice from the "pros" around me, succumbing to "those FF conversations" that I could tune out in the past. SIGH......

Fall has taken on a whole new meaning.

This is my guy - I'm counting on him to make me look like I know what I'm doing. GO HAWKS!!!!