Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gaining Strength

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot. -Eleanor Roosevelt

A dear friend of mine used this quote on her blog recently, and when I read it I knew it was perfect for what I needed to say tonight.  I've been looking for words lately.  Words to say here... and words to say there.  "Where is there???" You may ask.  Well, at the risk of sounding like Dr. Seuss, the "there" I'm referring to is a speech that will be read at our meet this weekend.  You see, we are dedicating our first home meet of the season to our little angel, Avery.  

This shouldn't be hard right?  I mean, I've written about her several times, I've had almost 3 months to compile my thoughts since the accident.  But somehow, I'm still struggling to put words together to do her justice; words that might actually convey the significant hole left in so many lives, words that will make her mother proud to hear.  Words that will help a person who didn't know Avery to KNOW AVERY.  

That's what is important.  

Stolen from our God Girl's Facebook page.
Everyone should KNOW her beauty.  
So I read that quote today on Rachel's beautiful blog (PLEASE check it out... she is amazing!  http://courageserenitywisdom.wordpress.com/ ) and it spoke to me.  This task, though it seems large and scares me, is something I need to do- something I need to look in the face and tackle, because it will make me stronger.

Think of something you're afraid of, something that you've wanted... something that terrifies you- and look it straight in the face.  Be bigger than your fear, be stronger than your fear.  I guarantee that it will be worth it.  (at least, that's what I'm telling myself!) =) 

Here's to doing something frightening... and gaining strength, courage and confidence!

Love True,

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I witnessed a pretty cool moment today.  A team of sixth grade girls got to play a scrimmage during half time of the Women's game at UW-Whitewater today.  In true collegiate fashion, these little girls had their names announced as they ran out onto the court, and got to play on the, much bigger than they were used to, collegiate court.  I just smiled as I watched them in complete happiness.  They were living a dream, creating a moment, that they will probably never forget.

It got me thinking about what it was like when I was in 6th grade.  I remember going to a college gymnastics meet at Northern Illinois University and simply marveling at the experienced college gymnasts, their excitement, their team unity, and their confidence.  Had I been given the opportunity to go out and do my beam routine in front of that crowd in a collegiate atmosphere, I might not have been able to breathe!

One of our incredibly silly moments! At UAA in Alaska.
Sometimes I can't believe the opportunities I've been blessed with.  When I think about the wonderful experiences I've had, the friends God has given me, I am so unbelievably grateful.  I'm reminded on a daily basis of the silly, heartfelt times I spent with my roommates in our apartment building forts or cooking dinner together.  I think about the days we spent in the gym together laughing, crying, striving for perfection, and picking each other up when we fell down...

I got picked up a lot.

Those moments are a direct result of moments like the one I witnessed tonight.  Maybe one of those little girls will find themselves on a college team later in life... maybe they'll be a coach somewhere, and thank God for that one amazing opportunity that planted a seed in her brain about college basketball.

Maybe I'm reaching, who knows... I have a sort of, eternal optimist quality.  One that tells me, "Everything really does work out in the end, Al.  Stop worrying."  (No joke... I hear that in my brain almost every single day). Maybe I'm being all sentimental because I'm exhausted.  Or maybe it's because I received a video yesterday of my Angel doing gymnastics... and all I wish I could do was go back in time to that moment.

A picture taken earlier that week, at camp
Yep.  That's me giving her that high five.  And although I don't specifically remember that high five (as I know there were about a million that week) I do remember so much about that child and her cartwheel!  She worked every single day... the entire beam rotation on that silly cartwheel.  I thought I was going to have to physically remove her from the beam each day!  She would do cartwheel after cartwheel until I had to say, "Avery, let's give Suzie a turn now."

I've watched that video about a hundred times in the last two days.  And each time, I can't help but smile remembering how truly happy she was in that moment.  Her beautiful smile after sticking it, and that high five... oh, how I would hold that hand a little longer if I could.  That is a truly special moment, and I am so grateful that her mom took the time to send it to me.

That's another moment I wouldn't have if it weren't for the moments that helped me fall in love with gymnastics.  And I can't imagine not having my moments with Avery.  My all time, favorite quote fits this sentiment so perfectly... I probably don't need to say anything else :)

"Life isn't about the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

Love True,

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Today was a good day.  I became a God Mother today; to the beautiful, bright eyed, brown haired baby that was almost born on my birthday.  Quinn Harper Goodman is the amazing daughter of my dear friend Justine and her wonderful husband Eric.  They are amazing parents, and I can't even begin to explain how honored I was that they asked me to be Quinn's God Mother.

As I held that little girl today and the pastor spoke over and over about the "light" in the world I couldn't help but think about my sweet angel, Avery, watching over me and watching over Quinn as she became a part of God's family... a family that Avery knew so well.  Avery was such a Jesus loving, God worshiping, amazing little girl, and I hope that Quinn will know the same kind of faith that Avery knew.

Avery's mom has a beautiful blog, and through that, I've been able to learn more and more about Avery's wonderful faith.  Through that blog, I've grown so much closer to Avery and her spirit, and so much closer to God.  When I was asked to be a God Mother, I wasn't sure if I was ready for that kind of responsibility.  But I think Avery felt differently.  I was overwhelmed with comfort today in that Church, and so was Quinn... who didn't cry at all :)

Psalm 18:28 You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.

There are great amounts of light in the world.  Sometimes when it gets too dark, we have to remember where those rays of light shine from.  A hug, a smile, holding hands, giving a compliment... whatever it may be, spread as much light as humanly possible, so little ones like Quinn can grow up in a love filled world, full of faith.  

Love True,

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

When the Sand Runs Out

I am firmly sticking to my goal of writing more in 2013.  We are only 2 days in... and it's only been two days since my last post!  Yep, I'm patting myself on the back right now.  :)

I hope everyone is feeling rested and refreshed after all of the New Year's celebrations!  I spent the entirety of January 1st on the couch watching football, and recovering from my NYE festivities!  The sleep was necessary!

I've seen a lot of blog posts, Facebook statuses and tweets regarding New Year's Resolutions.  Other than, "writing more," I haven't been very vocal about mine.  Sometimes I feel like these personal resolutions are better kept to ourselves... and other times I think saying them out loud to others may hold us to be more accountable.  Sharing these goals with others can help us to add weight to the situation, to be more aggressive in pursuing our goals.

There is a song I've loved for years, that perfectly describes my resolutions for 2013, so I'll share my resolutions with you straight from the lips of the band, Rascal Flatts.

"When The Sand Runs Out"

I spent the morning at an old friend's grave
Flowers and Amazing Grace, he was a good man
He spent his whole life spinnin' his wheels
Never knowin' how the real thing feels
He never took a chance or took the time to dance
And I stood there thinking as I said goodbye
Today is the first day of the rest of my life

I'm gonna stop lookin' back and start movin' on
And learn how to face my fears
Love with all of my heart, make my mark
I wanna leave something here

Go out on a ledge, with out any net
That's what I'm gonna be about
Yeah I wanna be runnin'
When the sand runs out

'Cause people do it everyday
Promise themselves they're gonna change
I've been there, but I'm changin' from the inside out

That was then and this is now
I'm a new man, yeah, I'm a brand new man
And when they carve my stone they'll write these words
"Here lies a man who lived life for all that its worth"

And as the cold wind blows across the graveyard
I think I hear the voice of my old friend whisper in my ear

I'm gonna stop lookin' back and start movin' on
Learn how to face my fears
Love with all of my heart, make my mark
I wanna leave something here

Go out on a ledge, with out any net
That's what I'm gonna be about
Yeah I wanna be runnin'
When the sand runs out

I don't think I could have dreamed up any better resolutions than these... and I know that is exactly the way my Avery would want me to approach the new year!  Here's to a spectacular 2013!  May your life be abundantly blessed, and all of your resolutions accomplished!  

Love True,