Category Archives: Sports

Running the Race

Back in the days of one flavor of Gatorade, I was a high school and college athlete.  Those were the days when orange Gatorade was the greatest thing out there, trainers at high school sports were non existent, college coaches wrote hand written letters to recruits, and we wore really cool polyester sweat pants to practice.

Yep I played soccer and ran track back in those days.  Actually for my elementary years I was the only girl in the boys soccer league.  Yep that was the 70’s before the days of Title IX.  I remember the thrill of getting to play on my first all girls soccer team in 9th grade!

But my main sport back in the day was track.  I ran the 100, 200 and 400 (ok back in the day it was the 100, 220, and 440).  And the race I remember the most was the grueling 400.  It was a sprint, one lap around the track.  But honestly how can you sprint one lap?  So you had to train and come up with a strategy on how to attack that race.  Go out hard, stride the back stretch, keep good form, and finish strong coming out of the last turn.   It was the finish strong part that was the hardest.  How can you finish strong when your legs felt like jello!

track team soph year

The biggest part to finishing strong was training hard.  Running 100 and 200s to work on speed and running 450’s and 600’s to work on that endurance piece.  I remember training so hard at times that I actually threw up once after a race and once during practice.

 

But the thing  I keep thinking about lately is in order to finish well, I had to train hard.

 

And train hard, and work hard……it wasn’t easy at times (um, remember the puking after practice!).  There were many times I didn’t feel like going to practice or running that 6th 200 of practice or 4 400’s then a break then 4 more.  I was dying out there…..but I kept pressing on, I kept working hard.

Over the years I qualified for the state track meet several times and I still vividly remember the finish line at that meet.  I remember coming out of that last turn with my eyes squarely  focused on THAT finish line.  It was at that moment with my eyes focused on the finish line, I would find out if all my hard work paid off….did I finish well?!?!

state ribbons 

I am drawn to the memory of that finish line a lot lately.

 

I am drawn to the memory of working hard to finish well

 

I am drawn to the memory of how hard it was at times, how I didn’t feel like working hard some days!

 

I am reminded about being weary and tired yet continuing to press on.

 

I am reminded of this bible verse, that I memorized in college shortly after I stopped running after tearing my ACL.


Hebrews 12:1-2

New International Version (NIV)

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I am not going to lie, it’s been a rough year!  A rough school year for this tired teacher, a long winter, and a year filled with many unexpected challenges and frustrations, along with Curt’s ongoing digression with Alzheimer’s.  Just this week, Curt asked me if I had a boyfriend?  He had no idea we were married.  He wants to “go home” at night, and gets so mad at me when I don’t take him home.  It’s hard.

But…….I am running the race, working hard, training hard and persevering.  I am fixing my eyes on Jesus. 

And my eyes are fixed on the finish line, because when all is said and done, how we run this race for Jesus is all that really matters.  The race may be hard, but may we all finish well!

Pressing on………..

family Easter

 

 

 

 

 

A Caregiver?

I remember a few years ago, shortly after Curt was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s going to an online support group for those who know someone with Alzheimer’s.  As I signed up I had to list if I was patient with Alzheimer’s or a caregiver.  I remember thinking, what?!? I was neither, I was Curt’s wife, he was my honey……I was NOT a caregiver.  I was so mad at this website, it forced me to sign up as a caregiver and I clearly was not.  At that point I really had no idea of the role of a caregiver or what that meant.

C and I Ice chair

Well…………almost 2 and a half years later I find myself feeling a lot more like a caregiver and less like a wife.  I help Curt get dressed each morning, put his shoes on for him, pour his cereal, pull out the chair for him to sit down on to eat, turn on the TV to ESPN (since he can’t use the remote anymore) and then head out the door for school each morning.  (Someone comes a little later to stay with him during the day while I am at school.)

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At a basketball game

I put his seat belt on and buckle it when we go places, put his coat on and take it off for him,  cut up his food so he can eat it, help position him in bed each night (he forgets where to lay his head each night), help put the covers on him and the list goes on and on.

Yes, I have become a caregiver.

When we took our vows back on June 17, 1989 and I said those infamous words, “for better or worse and in sickness and in health”, I meant it.  Sure I wasn’t thinking about Alzheimer’s on that beautiful day in June.  But God had other plans for our marriage and now is my time to show LOVE to Curt by caring for him.

He is so sweet telling me every day as I walk out the door how much he loves me.  He also greets me at the door every day when I get home.  He feels safe with me, he feels cared for by me and I hope he feels loved.  I can assure I do have those moments when I feel like letting him go to sleep with his jeans and shoes on because I am just too tired to put his jammies on. :)  But, He is my honey and despite my new caregiver role, I will always be his WIFE for life!  I have learned as of late the true meaning of those words spoken on that hot summer day in June.

Mark 10:6-9 New International Version (NIV)
“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Family News

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I have not updated this blog in some time now.  Things got really busy for us with basketball season.  It was a rough season for Tyler!  He broke his LEFT ankle in a scrimmage in Early December, his team was 3-7 with out him.  He came back, and played 10 games and his team went 7-3……but then in the midst of an important overtime game, in the first 30 seconds of overtime, Tyler came down on someones foot and fractured his RIGHT ankle and had to miss the rest of the season.  It was a heart breaker.  But my boy is a trooper and maintained a great attitude, well…. except for the first night after he broke it the second time, that was rough. :)

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Note, the same boot he wore on the left foot is now on his right!

The night he broke his ankle was also a special night for our family.  Our wonderful basketball parents club did an Alzheimer’s Awareness night and raised about $1,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association and a little over $4,500 for a special fund set up to help pay for Care for Curt down the road.  Such a special night for our family, with such a unfortunate ending.  Yet ,we did feel so loved by the wonderful community we live in!  Our cool small town has been so very supportive of our family!

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Presenting the $1,000 check to the Alzheimer’s Association

I just entered the spring sports info into the calendar for March, April and May……..it’s a bit overwhelming, Madi will play her sophomore season of Lacrosse and Tyler will play his senior season of baseball.  So your ongoing prayers for my sanity are appreciated!!  Tyler graduates in June (sniff sniff), Madi has her 16th birthday at the end of May…..oh I feel the spring chaos already and it’s a freezing, winter day. :)

~Thanks for your ongoing prayers, encouragement and LOVE for our family…..we are blessed!~ Sandy

Madi sign

Madi made this special sign for her BFF.

Life as we know it

I thought I would show you some pics that will give you a glimpse of life as we know it these days!

Tyler had a great set of games in Richmond, Va.  It was well over 100 degrees, but we learned how to survive in the heat!  I of course was wondering how am I ever going to get that uniform white again!?!?! (Note, after washing it 3 times with Oxi Clean it is still dirty!)

This cool, blue towel called the Frogg Togg is one great way to stay cool.  It’s a cooling towel, if you rinse it in warm water, the water evaporates and keeps the towel stays cool.  We also quickly realized sticking the Frogg Togg in a cooler of ice really helps also!  I bought one for myself and am making quite a fashion statement wearing it around my neck! :)

Poor Madi got sick on the Richmond trip.  Here she is shivering (just as she was getting a fever) at the Red Robin.  She is holding Tyler’s cheese sticks in her hand to try to warm up!  That was also the night the AC broke in our hotel room and Ty and I got little sleep, and poor Madi was cold and then burning up.

Ok, so not only was it hot as balls (ooops sorry, I have been hearing the 17 year old boys say that so much it’s starting to effect my brain also) in Va, but the field right behind us had just been sprayed with manure to help rejuvenate the grass over the summer.  It smelled horrible.  On a positive note, for those of you who live in Lancaster Co with me, you know it made me feel like I was at home.  Nothing like the smell of fresh manure to make you yearn for home!

So thankful for the team shade canopy!

The reason we do all of this crazy traveling!

Not sure how I feel about this picture.  Madi really seems to be enjoying being the only girl traveling with the team this summer.  The boys have been more than kind to invite her along with them at night when they go out. Mmmmmmm?? :)

Love this sweet picture!

This is what happens to me, after the heat, the driving, the long double headers, the packing of the car, the unpacking, taking care of all the details……I at some point just conk out!

After driving 9 hours to Myrtle Beach, we checked into the hotel and headed right to the beach.  It was beautiful!

Sweet Curt!  He works so hard to keep up with everyone on these trips. I write the room number of our hotel on his hand in sharpie so he can find his way back to our room.  He is struggling so much to keep up,and keep abreast as to what is going on and where we are going.  But he is enjoying this and I know he is glad he can take in Tyler’s games.  The other parents on the team have also been very helpful!

So thanks for the prayers, we are off to University of North Carolina tomorrow and then onto Atlanta.  We covet your prayers, it is what sustains us!

1 Peter 1:6-7

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

~Sandy

Calm before Spring

I can see it coming.  Pictures like this tell me it’s near. I see it on the horizon of our life.

Yep spring will be here before we know it.   I LOVE spring!  I love flowers, and truly relish seeing them begin to rise from the earth and bloom into something so beautiful.  It’s one of those little things in life I enjoy! :)

But this spring looks to be a bit crazy.  Madi is playing lacrosse and Tyler will have baseball.  When putting the sports schedule on calendar last week, I see there are some weeks when they have games the same day/same time and some  when someone has a game every day in that week.

To be honest it’s all a bit overwhelming.

Sports, household duties, some financial things we are taking care of right now, dealing with that anger issue that still lingers, rearing it’s ugly head at unexpected random moments, spring yard work, tons of paperwork to complete at school etc etc etc………

Curt is now so limited in terms of what he can contribute to the running of the household that it pretty much all falls on me.  So if you see me and I forget something you told me, just smile and remind me it’s ok. :)  I have forgotten some key things lately, simply because my brain is too full! But I am ok with that…it is how it is these days!


But as I am frequently reminded…take each day as it comes, don’t worry about the future.  Which I must admit can be hard.

But this devotion I read recently really hit home for me.  It’s from the devotional “Jesus Calling” by Sara Young. Um, yea you can see the section I starred in my book! :)

Keep your focus on My Presence in the present!  Yep, great point and a powerful reminder for me!

I am really choosing to focus on what is good not the struggles. 

Alzheimer’s is a wretched disease that we all confront as a family daily….but there are also some great things that happen to us also.  I am going to end this post with some of those good things.

This little gem sure has made my life easier!  I love the reminder app, I am constantly typing in little reminders for myself.  I am sure while you are chatting with me sometime you will hear my little reminder alert go off.  Just smile :)

Curt’s brother came for a long visit a few weekends ago.  It was a welcome diversion!

Oh and I must mention I devoured an entire box of these in 2 days! Not exactly a proud moment, but a good moment! :)

Thanks friends for your continued prayers and support!

~Sandy

Busy start to the new year…….

Basketball games, lacrosse games and practices, Eagles football game……..yes it’s been a busy start to the new year for us!  And in some ways the busy stuff is a mixed blessing, the kids and I are so caught up in the day to day chaos, that we don’t have time to focus on the perils of living with Alzheimer’s!

We had the best start to the new year, we got FREE, yes FREE tickets to the Eagles vs the Redskins game.  A dear friend worked it out for us, and the seats were the best!  No nosebleed section for us….phew!

Now some of you may be shocked to see me in an Eagles jersey, I know this may be hard for some of you, knowing that one of the first songs I learned as a child was “Hail to the Redskins!”  I grew up in the DC area, I grew up with a disdain for the Eagles, Giants and the Cowboys.  But this day was one of those moments in life where you look beyond the entrenched football rivalries and you support your husband!  He has been a long time Eagles fanatic and this day was for him! :) It was a fun day, the weather was ideal for Jan 1st and hubs team the Eagles won!

Madi has also been busy becoming buff girl…..she is doing a strength and conditioning program for Lacrosse and playing indoor lax.  Unlike Tyler, Madi has floundered a bit in finding a sport she loved.  She just started girls lax last spring, but has really come to LOVE it!  And it’s neat for all of us to see those skills continue to grow and improve!

Tyler is having a blast playing hoops this year, and I must say Curt is enjoying every game.  He sits near the court and takes pics while chatting with his new lady friend.  Now don’t take that the wrong way, his lady friend is one of the player’s grandmas.  But the two of them have forged a fun friendship this season.  Curt took this pic of Ty (#30) stuffing the leading scorer in the league! Ha not in our house! (ok,sorry competitive mom moment, I’m moving on now!)

So life for us is good, not always easy, but good.

Our local basketball parents club had a slogan a few years back…it simply said

“It Ain’t Easy”

This year the slogan is, “Every Day, Every Play”

Yep, we work hard every day, it ain’t always easy, but we press on!

Friday Fave Five

It has been FOREVER since I have done a Friday Fave Five………and as I sip a little coffee on my deck this morning, I was thinking today would be a great day to do it!

Although I must say I really can not confine the Fave Five to just one week.  So please allow me to indulge you in Five Faves of the summer! :)

It really has been a memory making summer, with all the traveling we have been doing, this summer will surely be implanted in the archives of our memories for a long time.  It’s seems so surreal in a way that we can have such a fun, family time together, but on the other hand we are still dealing with the horrors of Alzheimer’s disease on a daily basis.  Sometimes life just seems so normal.  But those little things like helping Curt order from a menu ( he has trouble finding what he wants, all the info on a menu can be confusing for him), or showing him which way his debit card goes into the card reader at the gas pump, these things remind me of what we are daily dealing with.  And I share them with you to give you a glimpse of how this disease can rob your mind of such simple daily tasks!

But alas some faves from the SUMMER!

My favorite destination by far was Atlanta, Ga.  Such a modern city filled with much of that good ole southern hospitality.  Now I must admit even though I had a strong affinity for the city I did not relish driving the 8 lane beltway around the city! :)

We enjoyed the Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta.  You can see my boy running around the cool fountain with out a shirt on!

We also loved all the Southern cooking, and a visit to the Passion City Church, led my Louie Giglio and worship leader Chris Tomlin.  Let me tell ya, they know how to rock a church service!!  We all loved it! 

Here is a pic of Curt and I outside another fine southern restaurant called Mary Mac’s Tea Room….here you could enjoy such southern dishes as Pot Licker soup, Sweet Potato Souffle, Fried Chicken, Tomato Pie, and plenty of Sweet Tea.

Spending time with family was another bonus to all this traveling!!  Check out all the family members we got to see!!

Here is most of Curt’s side of the family together in Dayton, Oh.  Visiting with family has been such a special blessing and cherished time in the chaos of a busy summer.

And Tyler with both of his lovely Grandma’s!!  Got to love these grandmas so willing and eager to have their 6’4 giant of a grandson swing his sweaty arm around their shoulders or stand next to this smelly, sweaty boy!

And dear Madi out shopping with her Aunt at the Easton Mall in Columbus, Oh


I watched endless hours of baseball in some serious heat and 95+ degree weather.  But once you get over worrying about how you look, and just accept the fact that you are a sweaty mess, it’s all good.  I really do love watching the games!!  Love when Tyler does well, stress when he struggles, but wouldn’t miss a minute of it!

Love this picture Curt took of Tyler sliding home to score!! :)

Getting off the beaten path makes life so interesting also.  While in the Charlottesville, Va after a game one day we followed signs to a peach orchard that sprawled out on the top of a mountain.  We loved the views and the peach ice cream and cider!

And lastly…HOME.  I relish the downtime of time on our deck and relaxing in these chairs at home!!!!

For more Friday Fave Five please visit Susanne at Living to Tell the Story

HOME!!!!

My alarm on my phone went off loudly playing some catchy ringtone at 6:30 am yesterday.  I hit the snooze button…..weary and tired, not wanting to get up.  But then I remembered………..we are going HOME today!!!!  Suddenly, I was inspired, turned off the snooze, made a beeline for the coffee, then woke up the rest of the family.  Get up…..time to go HOME!!! :)

Yes it has been a crazy summer, so much traveling.  I have been in 9 states, some great American cities, like Atlanta, GA, Charlotte, NC and Columbus, OH.  Drove the 8 lane beltways around those great cities, endured construction, bad coffee, heat, and lots of McDonalds food (love their new Mango/Pineapple smoothie btw), and used lots of those tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner!

But yesterday the motivation to get HOME is what got me going at 6:30am!

I have been gone for long, extended weekends since my last day of school on June 18th………But now we finally catch a break.  Don’t get me wrong, our travels have been fun in many ways, but also stressful…..surely not relaxing.  So today I am simply thankful to be home, enjoying the simple pleasure of watering my flowers on the deck, watching the birds at the bird feeder, sipping a cup of coffee on the deck, sleeping in my own comfy bed. 

HOME a refuge in the storm of life!

Yet, there is even a greater refuge than home………

This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.

Psalm 91:1-2

And that Refuge is what keeps me going!!

More updates to come…..now that I am home, I hope to update this blog more often.  Lots of pics of our adventures and an update on how Curt is doing.