Saturday, March 26, 2016

That smile....

As a coach and teacher I get to develop relationships with a ton of kids. Many years ago I met a young man who had a smile that never ended. I can only remember a handful of times, usually in the locker room, where he wasn't smiling. Being around him you couldn't help but smile too. His smile was infectious. Eddie I can't begin to know what your mind and heart were dealing with but know that you are loved both in life and in death. I know that God has a plan for this because he tells us that he works good in all things (Romans 8:28). I pray that you are at peace Eddie. I pray that through this tragedy others will not hide behind their smile or other mask that they put on. You're spirit will live on in this small, Michigan city through the lives of all the people that you touched. I love you and will miss you brother! Rest in peace Eddie! I was blessed to know you, coach you, and call you a friend.

For anyone who reads this and are dealing with some unseen issue don't hide it. Reach out to those around you. Everyone is a treasure of God, no matter what wrongs you have done, no matter what it is that troubles you or haunts you there is peace in the Father. "Let the little children come to me....for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children." Matthew 19:14. All of us are like these children, Jesus wants us to come to him. Seek him. Seek out those who love you and share your pain, those who love you will not mind, I promise you. Talk to someone, a friend, a parent, a sibling, a minister, a teacher, someone, anyone don't keep it inside. That which you hide away will only fester and boil to the point of breaking you.

For those of us who are friends, loved ones, or trusted individuals of others (that is all of us) be vigilant, keep your eyes and ears open to those around you. Sometimes the cries for help are barely audible, almost silent. Look past the facade, past the masks. Have compassion and empathy, be willing to be the shoulder to cry on, the arms to comfort, and the ears to listen. It could save a life!

In closing, I want to share my favorite song right now. As you listen to it read the lyrics, it's very powerful.



Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Unanswerable Question

So many times we encounter a question that we just can't find an answer too. As I lay in bed tonight, starting to dose off, I was stirred by my teenage daughter. She had came to inform me that one of her friends, a daughter to one of my friends and former coworker, had passed away in an automobile accident. My heart sank to depths I can't describe. H was one of the most talented and beautiful young ladies that I have ever met. She always had a smile on her face when I saw her. Her beauty showed from deep within. The loss of someone always brings about the question of why. I have always found this question to be the most difficult to answer. I think it is unanswerable. No matter what someone's response is the words are never enough, there isn't anything any human being can say that is going to make it all make sense. I typically am never at a loss for words but I can't seem to find any tonight. So I decided to get up and write, since it has been so long since I did so, and it always seems to help me when I am struggling. To my friend J, my heart aches for you and your family. Your loss is greater than anything a person should ever have to deal with. Know that you are not alone. You are surrounded by friends and family that love you, and your girls, and are going to be there to hold you up, to wrap their arms around you, and give you their shoulders to cry on. H, you will be missed by many but your memory will live on forever.

I hugged my daughter a little extra hard tonight and I am sure the next time she sets out on her own in one of our vehicles I will worry a little more than usual. If you are reading this, hug your kids tight, let them know you love them no matter what. Life is too short and you never know what tomorrow holds. Be safe my friends.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Senior Night/Parent Night

Today is Senior Night/Parent Night. For the seniors tonight will be the last time that they take to their home court to play the game they love. It is always with mixed emotions that I prepare for the final regular season game and today is no different. The 7 girls that I have had on Varsity and the 3 that played down so we could have a JV will always have a special place in my heart. They are 10 of the girls that helped me start my career as a Varsity Girls Basketball coach. I have gotten to know most of these girls pretty well and love each of them as if they were my own kids. Tonight will be emotional for me but especially for them. Whether we win or lose I know that these girls are going to give it their all tonight and will be able to walk off the court proud of all that they have accomplished. They are a very unique and special group. I am going to miss them. They have come so far this year and I wish I had them all for at least one more year. Now a little message for the Lady Wolverines:

Ladies - leave it all on the court tonight, no excuses, no regrets!

It has been my privilege and honor to be your coach this year and you will all have a special place in my heart forever. Tonight ends a chapter for us but tomorrow we start the next chapter and prepare for the tournament. I want you to know how proud I am of each and every one of you. 

We are 1!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Insomnia?

I can't sleep! Insomnia? Nope...it's just basketball season and tomorrow is our 1st scrimmage.  This week has been filled with emotional ups and downs.  It had been a long week but it culminates in our first test tomorrow.  I am anxious, excited, and though I don't want to admit it probably nervous too. I feel good about the progress we have made since our 1st practice. I love my girls. They work hard and they are getting better each and every day. I told them earlier tonight that tomorrow is the first step in our journey. It is a journey that we really don't know what the end will be. The future is unclear. Regardless, I couldn't be more excited to be taking this journey with these young ladies. Here's to a season filled with more ups than downs, a lot of growth and even more memories.  We are Vestaburg!  We are ONE!

Friday, November 7, 2014

I love my wife!

God is good! A simple statement but definitely one of the truest statements you could ever make. I have been blessed beyond measure in my just over four decades of life. Looking at where I am today, though I am not rich monetarily, I am doing well. I am teaching a great bunch of 3rd graders, on Monday my varsity coaching career officially begins, I have a great family, especially my 6 kids, but probably the biggest blessing I have is my wife Nicole. I could not be prouder of the woman who I married about 18 and a half years ago. She holds an associates, bachelors, and masters degree. She gets out of bed everyday (all 7 of them) before me to go to work. She does amazing work for the Veterans of Foreign War. She is my accountant. She keeps my house picked up, as much as you can with our kids. She fixes meals quite often. She helps with all the other stuff parents have to do. She is an amazing women. She always gives of herself and goes out of her way to help those who are in need. I love my wife. We may not always see eye to eye and we may not see each other a lot, especially during basketball season, but I wouldn't trade her for anything. (well....maybe if.....no we won't go there.....just kidding sweetheart) Okay so some of you may wonder why all of a sudden I am bragging about my wife. I know some of you are saying Matt must be in the dog house, but that is not the case at all. I have heard some negative things are being said and hinted at by others about my wife and that ticks me off. My wife does more in one day for our family than a lot of people do in a whole week. She has set some pretty lofty goals for her self professionally. She sacrifices her own needs to be sure that her kids and there needs are taken care of. She is probably the busiest lady I know but she always finds time to cuddle with the little ones or watch a movie with some of the kids or just hang out with them. My kids adore their mom and understand the significance of the things that she is doing with her life. In know way does my wife neglect her responsibilities as a mother and wife. Is my wife perfect, no. Do I wish she was home more, yes. But don't we all wish we could be home more? I think we all would love to be stay at home parents. It is not anyone else's place to tell us how to live our lives or how to raise our kids. I am proud of my kids and the things that they accomplish and I am proud of my wife and her willingness to honor her father, my grandfather, and all of the other men and women who have served our great nation. She is an amazing woman and she is my wife. I am one lucky guy to have her. If you have a problem with her and what she does or doesn't do you come talk to me, face to face, and I will tell you a handful of stories that will show you how amazing she is. So if you aren't willing to talk to me, keep your mouth shut and don't judge.

James 4:12 says "There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you - who are you to judge your neighbor?"

Additionally in Ephesians 4:29 it says "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

I hope I haven't offended anyone in my post tonight but I will not tolerate negative comments made about my wife. She does not deserve it and they certainly are not warranted. God blessed me with her and I will honor her as God has instructed.

I love you Nicole!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey and some of my own


Do you remember the Deep Thoughts bit from Saturday Night Live? Definitely one of my favorite skits. The above quote of J. Handy is one of my favorites. It is actually probably believable for some kids. I know it would have been for me if my parents ever told me that as a kid. I got in trouble a lot.
Anyway, it came to mind tonight when I started to think about what I wanted to blog about. This wasn't the reason but I thought it was funny that it came to mind for some reason.

On to what I really wanted to write about. Coaching.

I love coaching, and it really doesn't matter what sport /activity it is. This past Saturday my son's 6th grade football season came to an end. I have been the head coach for his football team the last 3 years and I love it. Though I in no way do it alone. I have a great staff of coaches that really are the key to our success. Phil, Paul, Todd, and Tim have been a huge help and asset to our team. I love that we are all Christians and that we pray together before every game. But now football season has come to an end for us and it is on to the next sport.

For me, it is the start of something new. I was recently named the head coach for the Varsity Girls Basketball team at the school I graduated from, Vestaburg High School. I can't be more excited to be in this position. I lie awake at night thinking about what offenses I am going to teach the girls, what in-bounds plays I want to try, and what drills I will put them through. I dream about it, I wake up and within minutes my mind wanders to basketball. It is going to be a good season, I can feel it.

This fall has been filled with so many blessings. As the school year started I didn't have a job. Within a couple weeks or so I started filling a part-time teaching position in Vestaburg teaching math, reading, and writing to some great 3rd grade kids. I absolutely love my job. It was the perfect position at just the right time. I can't wait to get to school every morning. You know you are in a good spot with your job when you aren't dreading getting out of bed and heading to work. I am so appreciative of the administration at the school for allowing me to be a part of the great things that are going on at the school. The teachers and other staff are excellent and a pleasure to work with.

Blessings just abound, every where we look. So often we take them for granted but we need to stop and just take them in some time. Today when I got home from school and a coaches meeting I started working in the yard and Maddex and Ella (my youngest 2 kids) were hanging out and helping as much as they could. Soon the other kids started getting home and joined us. We were blowing and raking leaves, I did a little mowing, but most of all we were just having a good time. (well I am not sure how much fun they were having) A couple of times I just stopped and watched them as they were working and I felt such gratitude that they could be out there doing what we were doing. That they are basically healthy and overall they are really great kids. When we got done and took the last tarp load of leaves to the road the kids started jumping in the leaves. The joy in their faces was priceless. So, I grabbed my phone out of phone and took a couple quick pics of them in the leaves. It is a memory I will cherish forever.


(l to r) Ella, Taylor, Gwen, Logan, and Maddex

Aggie was not with us. She was inside getting cleaned up from a little incident she had while pumping gas for a fund raiser earlier in the evening. That's a story for another time. I love that girl but she certainly keeps us on our toes.

Do me a favor, hug your kids a little tighter the next time you hug them. Tell them you love them a couple extra times, and find a way to spend a few extra minutes with them this week. You won't regret it.






Monday, September 1, 2014

HEY! Are you listening?

I hope your paying attention. This blog post is important so if you aren't paying attention do so now.

Life is short!

I know that isn't much of a revelation for most people but as a society I think we take our days for granted. I write tonight with a heavy heart. A couple of days ago a dear friend lost her mother unexpectedly. My friend has been battling a pretty serious health condition since spring and then this happens out of nowhere. Later that night I learned that an extended family member's daughter was fighting for her life. Kaitlyn had been struggling with some health issues for several months and suddenly stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest. Earlier this evening she lost that battle. I believe that she was a senior in high school. Finally, I was stunned by the news of a young woman from the city I live in choose to end her own life today. She left behind a young son and numerous friends and family members who are friends of mine. I didn't know her that well, enough to say hi basically. I just remember her infectious smile when I would see her at different local events.

All three of these ladies left this earth earlier than most of us probably think they should have. We don't know why these things happen, they are beyond our control. We just get left to wonder why. A short word that leaves us with so much to wonder.

Why?

I believe that we will probably never really know why these things happen but I wholeheartedly believe that they happen for a reason.

If you have read my blog before than you probably know that I am a Christian. I believe the Bible is a guidebook for us to rely on while we travel our road to eternity. I make no apologies for my beliefs and I don't judge you if you feel differently but I am going to be blunt here.

God is in control! Regardless of how much pain, turmoil, strife, etc... we may go through He has said that he will not give us anymore than we can handle. I often think of Job and all that he had and lost but that he remained faithful to God through it all. Now I know I am no Lot but I always try to remain faithful, but I fail at times.

Sometimes I think the "bad" things happen to serve as a wake up call for others or even ourselves. I am reminded of a song by the late Rich Mullins entitled "Live Right" The lyrics of the chorus are:

But don't hold out, don't let these chances pass you by
Here's your life, you're gonna get it right
Live like you'll die tomorrow
Die knowing you'll live forever, live right
Love like you'll leave tomorrow
Believing love lasts forever, live right


These words have been going through my mind all evening. The three tragic events I mentioned are horrific. I can't imagine losing my mother, one of my daughters, or a friend like loved ones of mine have this weekend. My heart aches for those that did. I want everyone that reads this to understand that you just don't know when someone is going to leave this life. You don't know when it is going to be your time. You have to be sure to take advantage of the moments we do have. I don't know that anyone could have changed the events of this weekend but I think of the young mother who chose to end her life. I don't know what she was dealing with but I hope and pray that her situation can awaken others to the fact that people around us are hurting and we need to reach out and love them. Christ told us to love our neighbors, he also told us to love our enemies. People, we need to love each other and let each other know that we care. We don't know when someone we care about is going to be gone, don't let them leave with out knowing that you love them. Parents, hug your kids an extra time tonight. Kids, tell your parents you love them. Friends, let your friends know you care. 

I may have rambled a bit tonight, but this was hard to write with soggy eyes. 

If you get nothing else from this rambling of mine get this: 
from John 15:17

"This I command you, that you love one another."

And if your interested here is a link to the Rich Mullins song "Live Right"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFFhkoz3BHc