Faithinflipflops

Living simply, loving deeply!

Archive for the tag “Summer”

Baseball & Believeland

If you live in Northeast Ohio, you know that the Cleveland Indians are in the World Series…the first time since 1997.

My love for the Cleveland Indians stems from my childhood. Cleveland Indians baseball playing in the background was the soundtrack of my childhood summers. My mom would sit on the back picnic table listening to the game on the radio, drink Pepsi, chain smoke while keeping box scores of EVERY. SINGLE. GAME. Every year she would say, “This is the year the Indians win the pennant.” And she believed it.

The names Herb Score, Andre Thornton, Joe Charboneau (remember the song, “Go, go Charboneau…he’s Cleveland’s rookie of the year”), Mike Hargrove (the human rain delay), Len Barker, Joe Carter, Julio Franco, Toby Harrah, Brook Jacoby, Duane Kuiper, Rick Manning, Pat Tabler just to name a few were common names heard in my house. Buddy Bell was her all-time favorite player.

She passed away the summer of 1987.

 

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Me and my mom a month before she passed away.

 

I fell more in love with Cleveland baseball in the 90s. This was the era of Sandy Alomar Jr., Albert Belle, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez (he made me laugh with his antics), Carlos Baerga , Jose Mesa, Charles Nagy, Kenny Lofton, Eddie Murray and my all-time favorite play, Omar Vizquel. I was able to go to spring training with my sister and brother-in-law when the Indians were in Winter Haven, Florida. So fun.

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I still have my Omar Vizquel socks..and t-shirt… ❤ 

In 1995, the Indians made it to the World Series for the first time since 1948. I was a junior in college in Virginia. My sister, Nancy, called me at school and said she had an extra ticket to game 3 of the World Series. My brother-in-law could not go. Did I want to go? DID I WANT TO GO? The game was Tuesday, October 24, 1995. I got up early that Tuesday morning drove 450 miles to my sister’s house. My dad came to her house so I could see him for a couple of hours before we went to the game.

I thought of my mom as they raised the American League pennant at the game. I remember feeling overwhelmed by emotion, wishing she could actually see it happen. The Indians won that night in 11 innings by a score of 7 to 6. When they scored the winning run, I remember the Jake going crazy. The place was electric. Strangers were hugging. It was incredible.

 

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We got back late to my sister’s house. I got up early again the next morning and drove 450 miles back to school. It. Was. Worth. It.

The Indians did not win the World Series that year. The Atlanta Braves did.

Two years later, the Indians returned to the World Series against the Florida Marlins. I had only been in ministry six months. I remember for game 7 I had strep throat but my boss made me go to an appreciation banquet the church was having for us because no one would believe I was really sick. He thought everyone would think I was faking it to stay home and watch the game. I wasn’t. The antibiotics I received the next day were proof. He recently apologized to me for that. Ha! I am still bitter about that series. It went to game 7. The Indians lost in the 11th inning. I cried. I was mad, as well. What frustrated me most about this series was the Marlins assembled a team for a year to simply win a championship. They dismantled the team the following year whereas the Indians had systematically built a strong team through time and their farm system. I am still really bitter. 😉 I have really strong opinions about loyalty and the purity of baseball. That’s what I love about this year’s Cleveland Indians. There are no real superstars. It is a team working together to get the job done.

The Cleveland Indians are the underdogs this year. That’s okay. The Cleveland Cavs came back when they were down 3 – 1 to win the world championship. The Cavs winning did something for Northeast Ohio’s psyche. It broke something. Some people say a curse…I don’t know what it is but it’s tangible and real.

This is our year. There is a pride and solidarity that comes with being from Northeast Ohio. I have not seen it in other parts of the country. A feeling of camaraderie and brotherhood that comes from going through battle together through the leanest of years. Watching Cleveland rebuild itself and rise from the ashes from the time the Cuyahoga River caught on fire and was called the Mistake on the Lake, through our tough sports years (the Drive, the Fumble, the Shot, Art Model taking the Browns out of Cleveland to Baltimore in the cloak of night) until now is inspiring and something we all should be proud of. Downtown is bustling. When the Republican National Convention came to town this summer, Cleveland shined brightly. The friendliness and unity were a beacon. After a few days, the professional protestors from both sides realized they could not get anything started so they moved on to Philadelphia, leaving our city the way they found it…full of pride and peace.

I guess after watching the Indians win game 1 of the World Series, I am feeling nostalgic. A family friend from childhood said to me tonight through Facebook, “your mom is keeping score”. I miss my mom. I am grateful for the love of baseball she instilled in me. And the optimism. She really did believe every year was THE year. I am also grateful for where I grew up. I love where I live (harsh winters and all). I especially love the people. Northeast Ohioans are gritty, tough, outspoken, fun, and optimistic. This is our year, Believeland.

The Summer of Finding My True North

Summer is coming to an end. Cool nights, bonfires, Friday night football games, and hoodies are just around the corner. I can hear the high school band play even as I type. The changing of summer to fall evokes in me such an overwhelming melancholy feeling…a feeling that can best be described as homesickness. September always seems more like a new year beginning than January does. I am even more sad to see this summer come to an end. It has been an incredible summer.

Back in the spring I was struggling a bit. I am 45 years old. I have been following Jesus for 29 years. I have been a follower of Jesus who has always tried to live a life of love, faith and risk.  I was feeling stuck. I felt stuck because of the decisions I had made early on in ministry (decisions that I know were God’s will for me but the risk involved with these decisions have become more evident as I have gotten older). The older we get, we can tend to fall into a pattern of playing it safe. I have never wanted to play it safe until the early part of this year.

Thirteen years ago God sent me back home to a small town on Lake Erie. To a town I love, a people I love, and a church I love. I have gotten to do amazing things and meet and love extraordinary people. But hitting “mid-life”, I realized that I had nothing for retirement, no house to call my own and I was allowing thoughts and circumstances to get my eyes off of all Jesus has called me to do.  God used a book to challenge me. Bob Goff’s Love Does was a “dead reckoning” for me, bringing me back to my true north. I am wired to take risks. I am someone who shrivels up simply maintaining. I thrive on trying new things and new adventures.  I am someone who has to have a degree of spontaneity in my life. Playing it safe will kill me. Maybe not physically but the core of who God created me to be.

This all led to some adjustments in my life this summer. I purposed to be more present. When I was somewhere, I was going to be completely there…not thinking about what I needed to do next or where I needed to go. Everyone I was around would get all of me. I purposed to spend more time with people. I have always loved being with people but I found that I had no time for people (or so I thought). I purposed to spend more time outside. I purposed to spend more time with God.  I purposed to be more spontaneous.  And the result?  It has made all the difference in the world. I have joy. I have peace. I hear from God more clearly (sometimes in the oddest of ways). People are no longer an irritant or distraction from what I perceived was “real” work. And I am really enjoying life again.

My circumstances have not changed. I still don’t have anything in retirement or own my own house. But I feel like I’m me again. The me Jesus always created me to be. There are still things that need to change in me, areas Jesus is still working on, but I am happy. More than happy, I am joyful. And excited for all the adventures ahead.

I have a lot of stories from this summer. Memories made. Lessons learned. Here are a couple of the lessons:

  1. If transporting your kayak by the inside of a car, make sure you wrap the tip of the kayak with a towel. This will save you $250 (the cost of getting a cracked windshield fixed). As I filled out my claim to my insurance company and came to the question “How did it happen?” I couldn’t help but laugh at my answer. “The tip of my kayak ran into the windshield and cracked it.”
    My kayak cracked my windshield.

    My kayak cracked my windshield.

     

  2. If you’re always worried about being cool, you will never have any fun. (My pep talk to the summer interns at our church before I sent them out to be dancing bananas, Santa Clauses, babies, and elves for our Amazing Race). *I think it can also be said that if you’re always worried about being cool, you will never take risks.

    Characters from our Amazing Race.

    Characters from our Amazing Race.

There are a few more stories from this summer I want to share but that would make this an incredibly long blog. And they each need their own space. So consider this a “to be continued”….

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