The Boys of Fall


Today, our son played a football game. It’s wasn’t  just any football game. It was a playoff game. A college playoff game. His senior year college playoff game. This was a huge game with so much on the line.

Grant started his football career at the age of nine and was in the third grade. All of his friends were playing tackle football and he wanted in on the action. Jon and I were thrilled to join in on this adventure, but nothing could prepare us for what was ahead.

Every Saturday we packed up the car with chairs, ice chests and donned our team jerseys and hats. We lived in Arizona at the time, so the average temperature was at least 100 degrees. We cheered loudly, made new friends, and watched our little boys run over team after team. They were unstoppable. Grant and his teammates took home two state championships over six seasons.

Youth football is not for the weak or faint of heart. Grant once sat in an ant pile during practice and never said a word because he was afraid to tell the coach. He came home with bruises, skinned knees and bloody elbows. Some nights, he would come home with tears in his eyes because practice was so intense. We continued to ask him if he still wanted to play. The answer was always a resounding yes! These boys were learning about perseverance, working through adversity, team building,  and so much more.

During his freshmen year of high school, he suffered a serious knee injury and his season ended early. It was challenging for him to stand on the sidelines and watch his fellow teammates out on the field playing the game he had come to love. He worked hard during the off season to become stronger and better than he was before. Not only did he become a two way starter on the varsity team the following year, he walked away with numerous weight lifting awards and recognitions. It was at this point I began to really understand the impact the game of football was having on my son.

His high school years continued to be filled with big plays, exciting games and yes, more injuries. He suffered concussions, required stitches in various parts of his body, and of course the every day bumps and bruises. ( For me personally, my prayer life became much more intentional during this time!) He worked through it all and never let it deter him from playing the game. We began to witness he and his teammates becoming closer and closer. They weren’t just players on a team. They were brothers. They challenged one another on and off the field. If one player was down, they lifted him up. If one player was celebrating, they all celebrated. The football team literally became our extended family. Again, with each passing season we watched Grant grow, mature, lead  and continue to make an impact on and off the field.

All of his hard work in high school began to pay off when he was recruited by a Division II school in Colorado. It wasn’t just any school. It was one of the toughest engineering schools in the country. Honestly, I’m not sure he really wanted to major in engineering, but he was great at math and science, and he could continue playing football. Again, we watched Grant excel on and off the field. This school was a perfect fit for him. Over the years, it became evident that Grant enjoyed a challenge. He thrives in a competitive environment and this school definitely challenged him in all areas. Just as he had in his youth football days and high school years, he suffered serious injuries and setbacks. However, he learned to overcome any obstacle in his way and was elected a captain his senior year.

For the past fourteen years, he has marched across the football field, making plays, building friendships, developing leadership skills, and creating a lifetime of memories. Today, we approached the end zone! The final game. It did not end as we had hoped, but his journey will continue and we know that all the years of hard work, blood, sweat and tears have made him the young man he is today. It’s been a blessing to share this game with our friends and family and we are eternally grateful for this fabulous game of football!


“Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it.” ~ Lou Holtz






The Gift

~Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Psalm 127:3

The date was October 3rd, 1992. After more than a year of trying to get pregnant, I was finally able to run upstairs and share the good news with my husband. We were going to have a baby! We could not wait to tell my parents they were about to become grandparents. It was my Dad’s birthday and we were all going over to their house for dinner. We decided to make our big announcement by giving my Dad a gift of all the baby paraphernalia grandparents would need, including a bib that said, “My Grandpa Loves Me!” What could possibly go wrong?

While we were shopping at the mall,  picking up our “grandparent supplies” and the ever most popular book, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, the unexpected happened. I began to show signs of a miscarriage, or so I thought. What are the chances this would happen on the very same day I found out I was pregnant? (I still often wonder today what are the odds?)

Jon and I decided to press on and continue our plans to surprise my family. After dinner and it was time for gifts, we handed my dad the bag of goodies. The minute he took out the baby bib and other items, my mother began screaming hysterically with excitement! These hysterical screams were interrupted by me bursting into tears and trying to explain my worst fears and disappointment. We decided the best course of action was to head to the emergency room and find out exactly what was happening. My husband, my mom, my sister and I piled into the car, and anxiously drove to the hospital. My sweet dad was left all alone on his birthday, eating cake and ice cream by himself.

I will never forget that night in the hospital. It was the beginning of a wondrous journey of motherhood. My husband and I watched as the ultrasound technician pointed out a tiny, little circle on the blurry monitor. At the time, I couldn’t have been more than six weeks along. The baby was the size of an olive. But there it was…. a microscopic flutter of movement on the screen. If you looked very closely you could see a heart beating! The only word to describe that moment is miraculous!

Fast forward twenty-five years, and that little baby just the size of an olive, that precious, little person with an amazing heartbeat, has grown into an extraordinary young woman. Our daughter, Hillary Paige, is celebrating her 25th birthday today! She has brought us joy, happiness, pride, and an abundance of pleasure! And yes, sometimes a little worry, concern, and possibly a few tears. (as ALL children do) She is smart, beautiful, genuine, sweet and occasionally even a little bit stubborn! (An inherited trait she received from my dad’s side of the family.) We have watched her grow, mature, and develop into a confident young adult who is spreading her wings and creating a life of her own.

However, Hillary isn’t just my daughter. She’s my best friend! She’s my GIFT! We talk on the phone daily, sometimes more than once. We like to watch movies together, go shopping, get mani-pedis , debrief in great detail about our latest television obsessions, eat appetizers and share a glass of wine on the deck. We currently live in different states,  but we still manage to enjoy our mother/daughter outings as often as possible. I am eternally grateful to God for entrusting me and giving me the great honor to be her mom!

Sadly, both of my parents have since passed away…. Hillary was nine years old when we lost my dad, and it was a short five years later when my mother passed away from cancer. I know they are smiling down from Heaven, beaming with joy and pride, and singing Hallelujah!!! Much like my mom did the night we told them we were expecting their first grandchild!

Today, Hillary Paige, we CELEBRATE you!!!!  You truly are a blessing from God and we love you more and more each day!

Happy Birthday, sweet girl!



My Dad, My Friend, My Hero

It was fifteen years ago today, March 7th, when my phone rang at 5:30 in the morning. It was my Mom telling me my dad had collapsed on their bedroom floor. I’ll never forget her voice. “Carrie, I think he’s already gone.” It was a surreal moment. Suddenly, the world stopped. As I tried to get dressed,  I collapsed on the closet floor, sobbing into my husband’s arms. I had just talked to my Dad the night before. He was feeling better. He sounded better. He was better. He had called to discuss the Diamondbacks game. It was such a normal conversation for my dad and me to have. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just a simple conversation between a father and a daughter who shared the same love of sports. There wasn’t a long, tearful goodbye.  It was just a typical Thursday night. It was the last phone call I would ever receive from my dad.

Now that it’s been fifteen years, I reflect back on those  days with mixed emotions. Of course, I would give anything to talk to him again. To tell him how much I love him and what a wonderful father he was. Perhaps something a little more sentimental other than the spring roster and the batting lineup. Then, I think about him. I think that’s exactly what he would want our last conversation to be about. He would not want me to mourn his passing. He would not want me to feel sorry for myself, my husband, or my kids. He would want us to celebrate! He is in Heaven and has front row seats to every big and little event happening in our life.

It’s not always easy to remind myself of this. Sometimes, I feel robbed. My dad never got to watch my kids graduate from high school, attend spelling bees, basketball or football games. He didn’t get to see his oldest granddaughter graduate with her bachelor’s degree, followed by her master’s degree two years later. He didn’t get to see his grandson play college football, and earn a degree in mechanical engineering. He has missed so much and so have my kids.

When these feelings of sadness creep into my mind, I immediately try to replace them with more positive, happy thoughts. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve my dad. My memories are simple. I remember flying a kite with him after his basketball season had ended. I remember going with him to his classroom on a Sunday afternoon. While he graded papers, I pretended to play school and wrote all over the chalkboard. I remember going camping and fishing with him when I was in high school. It was just the two of us. I can recall sitting around the campfire and looking up at the sky. Neither one of us had ever seen so many stars. I can remember lying on the couch with him watching the Dodgers’ game and learning all about baseball. I can recall hours spent in the swimming pool playing Marco Polo with him. We ran errands together. Just simple, routine moments which make up some of my most precious and vivid childhood memories.

Of course, I have milestone memories as well. I remember when my soon to be husband and I woke my dad up to announce we were engaged after just three months of dating! He greeted us with a smirk and his infamous raised eyebrow. I can remember walking down the aisle on his arm and our father/daughter dance at the reception. I now know he, along with my mother and sister, were camped out in the hallway ALL day awaiting the arrival of their first granddaughter. I remember when he bought season tickets to the Diamondbacks and was thrilled to take me or my kids with him. I was blessed to attend the 7th World Series Game with him in 2001. What a game, what a memory!

My dad was many things. He was a teacher, a coach, a husband, father, grandfather and friend. He was a history buff and a sports enthusiast. He was a Christian, a confidant, and a leader in our home. He was present! He was my dad, my friend, and my hero!

I miss you, Dad!