Thursday, July 28, 2016

My Mother

Today is my mom's 60th birthday, and she has been heavy on my heart and mind. Yes, I think about her on a daily basis, but most of the time I reflect on positive moments and recognize the blessings surrounding us everywhere. Lately, the thoughts I've been having about my mom are about the last few weeks that her body was fighting that disgusting disease that we should be focusing our hatred on... cancer. Although I shared some tidbits of what was going on this past January, I wanna take this time and speak more from my heart about what's been racing through my thoughts.

My mom was so fragile those last few weeks. My family and I kept telling her she was going to beat this cancer and it would soon be a distant memory. I just wanted to find out results from her blood work, which took SUCH a long time, and devise a plan of either radiation, chemo or whatever it would take. We had a bit of a hiccup at first because doctors said that my mom might have had tuberculosis. Therefore, she had to be secluded in a room that required everyone to wear a mask. That first week my mom was in the VA hospital, I was fortunate enough to have family everywhere. Two of my mom's sisters stayed at her bedside every single night and day (while I was home at night with a 3-month old baby). Family would wait with her day in and day out for doctors to come and provide any kind of update. My mom was never alone in those rough weeks, which I am beyond grateful for. I would even have my aunts rotate and watch baby in the car while I sat with my mom in her secluded room. My mom waited for going on 5 days... waiting day and night for an update from apparently fellowship students because the doctors were SO hard to get ahold of in that hospital! Towards the end of the week, test results confirmed that she did not have TB... unfortunately this wasn't the best news we heard, being that it meant that her irregular blood work most likely pointed to cancer. They ended up taking a biopsy at the end of the week and sent my mom home on a Friday, telling her she would need to return the following week on Wednesday to review the biopsy results.

My mom was so weak upon arriving home. She could barely walk let alone breathe. It was beyond shocking to me because just short of a week ago, I was looking at my mom walking and talking just fine. Yes, she appeared to be sick, but not to this extent. Baby and I (and more family, of course) spent all day Saturday with her, encouraging her to move around and not consume her mind around the big C word [probably easier said than done]. I even shared with my mom a story I had read that week about a woman who was sufferring health issues that she felt so defeated. The power of prayer and willingness completely changed her situation, and she was healed by the grace of God. My intent was to share some uplifting and positive messages with my mom so that she can also feel like this was going to turn around with prayer, faith and love. I just don't think she whole-heartedly could get her mind off of being told she had cancer.

That night/early morning, my mom suffered a stroke. She was taken to Long Beach Memorial Hospital, and they broke some heartbreaking news to us just hours after assessing CAT scan and MRI results. My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer that had metastasized very rapidly, throughout her entire body, including her brain which is how she suffered the stroke. I can't explain the hurt I felt... the feelings of defeat I had... the loss of words for my poor Mom. In that moment, one of my Aunts told me it was time for us to stay strong. My mom didn't need to see us hurting when she was the one hurting the most. My mom needed uplifting prayers... for strength... for peace... for love. I tried my hardest to stay strong during that time... leading up to the last week my mom spent on this earth.

After transferring my mom to her hospital, Kaiser, we soon made this 3rd hospital our homebase. We spent day and night there... my aunts staying overnight every single night. We sang with my mom, prayed with her, read her scriptures from the bible, and talked to her about anything and everything. She was released from Kaiser on hospice on a Sunday morning. That night, my family surrounded her bed, singing and praying and respecting the woman she was... the mom she was.. the sister she was... the aunt she was... the soldier she was. My mom was called to Heaven that night around 10pm.

I have the utmost honorable respect for my mother. She had all KINDS of occurances happening in those 2 rough weeks, one after another... And she managed to keep a smile on her face, speaking great positivity of being able to see her grandson when she was well again. She was the epitome of a fighter demonstrating such toughness, endrance, happiness and love more than I can ever imagine.
Dear Mom,

I am beyond proud of you, and proud to be your daughter. You left no stone unturned on this earth. You have taught me to never give up no matter what life brings my way. You have taught me to love my children unconditionally and always strive for the best in life for them. You have taught me to always always always put God first and trust in our Lord.

Manuia lou aso fanau! Alofa tele atu mo oe.

Monday, July 25, 2016

In loving memory...

Over the weekend, we learned some devastating news about one of our Husker family members. Sam Foltz (22 years old) was killed in a car accident driving back home from a punting camp held in Wisconsin. Sadly, another football player was also killed in the same accident, Mike Sadler, former punter from Michigan State University.

I personally did not know Sam, but I had the pleasure of meeting him a handful of times through the Hubs. He was always wearing a smile, from ear to ear. He was very delightful and had a face that you can tell was just full of life. He was an AMAZING punter... one of the best I've seen for college football! His testimony speaks volumes through others' words as they share dedications, prayers and memories on social media.

I was touched to see all the love and support from the Husker family, from football players, to coaches, to other student-athletes, to fans. Nebraska certainly gathered together as a unit to pay respects to a fine young man, and also support one another during this difficult time.

I want to encourage you to love one another and really think about WE instead of ME. Doing things for other people is a service that nobody can ever replace. Our world needs to be filled with much more love and respect than we've been demonstrating over recent weeks. It is OUR responsibility to leave this world as safe and humbling as we possibly can for our future generations. As Sam Foltz tweeted recently, "You never know who's watching... What impact do you wanna leave on the next generation to aspire to?!"

Prayers up for the Foltz and Sadler families.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Morning Business

I've always been an early bird. It's my peak in life... from waking up to the smell of fresh coffee to putting my LO down for a nap... I LOVE the mornings! Reflecting on some of the importance it has in my life, I think one of the main reasons mornings are amazing is because it's a time you are able to start anew. Whatever happened yesterday or last week is in the past... and with a new morning you can change your destiny and start with a fresh perspective. Who wouldn't like a re-do of their days?!?

Enough professing my love for the mornings. What I really wanted to do is share a few friendly tips that work for me and might work for you (or already work for you) to make the best of the start to your days!

// Stop reaching for your phone to check your social media when you open your eyes
I am totally guilty of this one, and have been for awhile... until recently! I read somewhere what a waste of time it is for you to check out the peak of your friends' days/nights. Not only does it make you feel bad that they are having such a grand time, or look amazing in their pics, but it's also somewhat an unrealistic picture of their entire day. Think about it... you wouldn't post a picture of when you're sobbing from sadness or anxiety, would you? Anyhow, try and hold off social media checks for when you're out of bed!

// Start your morning with some words of encouragement
Personally, I have quite a few automatic emails that I registered for which appear in my mailbox at the crack of dawn. I subscribe to emails focusing on daily verses and prayers, prayers for my marriage, quotes based on values, and others. Reading these types of emails first thing in my morning is really encouraging and also paves the way of how I perceive my day to be. I also love to read a chapter in my bible so I can learn more and also strengthen my faith.

// Make your bed (and any other household "quick" chores) before you go about your day
This is HUGE for me and something I made a point of prioritizing after having my LO. Making my bed totally symbolizes that the day has begun and no more lazying around! I also vacuum the massive collection of dog hair from our floors and clear the dish rack and sink. These things are so simple and only take a few minutes to do... but they can make a huge impact on your evening when you get home from work, school, or being out and about!

// Move your body
I have always been a proponent to working out in the mornings. It totally gets it done and out of the way, but also is proven to be the best time for you to workout! I like to have a variety of options, ranging from a group fitness class (Stroller Moms), walk/jog with the dogs, or workouts I can do from the luxury of my home! Working out makes you feel good, therefore starting your day with positivity and motivation!

// Call a friend or family member
I love to start my day off with not just self-talk, but talking with others. Being that I live far away from my family, technology is a saving grace (especially after having baby!). I'm always FaceTiming, calling, or Gliding with friends and family, and it totally brightens up my morning to share stories and count down to the football season together (we're always having visitors during the season, so it's exciting all the way around).

There you have it... important things I love to get done in the morning (aside from blogging of course!). My hope for you is that you can take something away from this post and start your day with positivity and love!

What are some of your morning to-do's?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

From the Eyes of the Child

We're a household full of LOVE... for each other and for the game of football! There's no doubt in my mind that we will expose our baby boy to sports once he's old enough to stand [okay, maybe old enough to learn how to run with the ball in his hand]. In any case, staying active will be our focus as we raise him... whether that means football, golf, polo, basketball, or just working out! It means so much to the Hubs and I for him to be on the move and appreciate the outdoors so much as we did when we were little kiddos.

As important as this is to us, we also can recognize things that may suck the simple joy out of being active... in a sport or just being a kiddo [read more on this great article on Changing the Game Project blog]. I keep hearing and seeing how things are changing in our athletic world today, even in youth sports. Parents are arguing aggressively in the stands at flag football games, putting too much pressure on their child to perform at impeccable standards when coaches are around, expecting consistent PT (playing time) on a team that many players on the roster, or even making academics secondary just so their child can make extra lessons or play on travel ball. Don't get me wrong, I may be partaking in some of these actions... in moderation and fairness. However, what I don't believe in is draining a child from the happiness while playing these sports.

My dad was very supportive of sports I wanted to play and activities I wanted to pursue. To continue these standards within my family, my hope and wish is to remain patient and understanding of my baby boy's perspective in life. THIS is the starting point of sharing our knowledge and shaping our future generation.
How are you staying tune with your kiddos' perspectives?

Monday, July 18, 2016

What are you [really] good at?

Have you ever had a moment of realization that made you think, "I really need to work on that" [if you haven't, you're probably not human!]? Let's face it... we're not as perfect as we may want to be... we may fall short of a few career or personal skills, which some label weaknesses. One lesson I learned not too long ago is to stop harping on trying to fix those weaknesses. Instead, put that energy into STRENGTHS and work on sharpening those skills that we are really good at!

Strengths are not just something we're naturally good at... we refer to that as our talents. In fact, talents become our strengths when we develop them. Finding your strengths can be a delicate task that you may need some direction with. Luckily, there are assessments that exist out there to help narrow down your true strengths. A few of which may be Gallup's Strength Finder or The Marcus Buckingham Company's StandOut Assessment.

Once you get an idea what your strengths are, there is so much to unlock... what direction in your career you might take, what types of team members you might compliment (or that might compliment you), how you might make the biggest impact... just to name a few.

Personally, I've completed both the Strengths Finder and the StandOut Assessments. They both computed very similar types of strengths, and actually reinforce some of the things I thrive off of at this point in my life. Some of the keywords my assessments revealed are:

- Problem-Solving
- Good judgment
- Sincere enthusiasm
- Accountable
- Protective

Reviewing these results has given me a bit of a push to pursue some things to new levels, one of which is my coaching business. There's nothing better than helping PEOPLE... helping others become their best and pursue their own strengths! Needless to say, tapping into some of my strengths brings me a sense of joy and realization that I'm headed in the right direction. Rather than beating myself up because I'm not this or that, I'm able to focus on what I'm good at and create whatever it is that I want to create for myself.

What might be some of your strengths that come top of mind?

Monday, July 11, 2016

June Gloom

It is no joke when I say- June was a tough month for this household! Nebraska Huskers reported back for workouts the first of June... Nebraska coaches hosted Friday Night Lights every Friday eve which had coaches at the school until 10-11pm... Then it was right back to campus first thing Saturday morning for them to host recruits and how em' how the Huskers roll. It was a rough one on the Hubs... which translated to a rough one for myself and my LO.

We were only able to enjoy breakfast together as a family on Sunday mornings. When the Hubs got off from work, baby would be showered and in bed majority of the time. Yes, we've had minimal time with Coach Hubs in the midst of the season and well after, but June felt like a super long month without him around much.

Though being a coach has many rewards, there are also quite a bit of substantial sacrifices that come with the job. One of which is the lack of time available to be a family. This is a HUGE one for us, as it may be with other coach's wives! I miss having the Hubs around the house, or just going to dinner with him to catch up on life. I especially miss him when I witness so many different milestones and moments I am SO blessed to have with baby.

As I embrace these rough patches as a coach's wife and mommy, I can't help but think about how it must be to be a coach working towards work-life balance... working hard (and some!) for the love of the game, but also spending some good QT with the family and oneself. This article that was posted on Football Scoop put it into perspective in such a clear cut way for me. [It could have been because they compared the coach's life to a consultant's life- my kinda' language!]. They discussed a study that was conducted comparing the number of hours of work and actual productivity. Turns out that you don't have to put in 23482734 hours of work just to be productive... you can work less hours IF you learn to manage your time and utilize the minutes in a day to accomplish meaningful tasks. High pressure (indeed)... high rewards!

Needless to say, June is over and we're working on life in July. I refuse to let this month be as rough, especially since we have the weekends with Hubs around! These sacrifices that WE make helps us become stronger and closer. I, myself, definitely feel even more blessed to be where I am and be who I'm with. I appreciate our time together even more, and cherish all the memories we make together as if time is at a standstill.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Live Together

Things have been quite busy over herrrrr. BUT I do have a few things I want to chat about which will make for great posts. One of which is totally top of mind for me...

If you haven't been on social media or don't watch the insanely scary news, there have been quite some monumental historical happs out in our world...

Political scandal
Rape victims
Shootings of innocent people
Retaliation against law enforcement

It makes me so sad. Sad that we are not only suffering from international terrorists, but now we are hurting our own people. We are turning against ourselves. To be in a country where it's home of the free does not give the right to society to do as they please, without any respect, without any compassion, without any love for one another.

This is NOT the world I am proud to have my child (or other children) grow up in. In the midst of all this chaos, I am trying to dig deep myself to find the silver lining. Personally, it's taking quite some energy (who doesn't go stir crazy with their own thoughts when thinking about the what if's)... but the silver lining for me has been looking at all of this as a wake up call.

Instead of taking some common sense for granted, I want to TEACH. I want to teach our children more about diversity and love. I want to teach them that there are no color differences when we look at others. I want to teach respect is a necessity, just as much as it is earned. I want to teach them about unconditional love and forgiveness. As much as I will teach my child, I also will re-teach myself.

I have nothing but the utmost love for you all, and if anyone ever wants to chat about reactions, feelings, or just thoughts about how this violence, I urge you to lean on others... and you certainly always have my open ears to listen!

How are you feeling with all of this?

Monday, July 4, 2016


Today we celebrate Independence Day... land of the brave... home of the free...

the beautiful

Today I'm also celebrating the football season to come. Americans love us some football! It's kinda cray cray if you think about it. There are all types of fans out in the universe. NFL fans and college football fans (me being one of them!). People go HARD for their teams. Some invest in a man cave with their favorite team colors. Others collect memorabilia of their fave team. Some even get their team's logo tattooed on their body so they can permanently represent (to each their own, right?). I choose to keep my spirits confined to blog posts and clothing gear!

Anyhow, being a proud American myself, I can't help but get excited over some college football coming up. We are 61 days away until kick off, and I'm tickled pink!

Happy 4th errryone!

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