Thursday, November 20, 2014


I can't sleep! Insomnia?'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 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.


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"

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

what do you do....

Have you ever found yourself in a time in your life where you are stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place? I would guess that most of us have been there at one point or another. I am not sure if I am there yet or not but it seems that if I am not I will be there soon. As some of you know I am not currently employed anywhere. Additionally, most of you know that I am a teacher. Well the school year is literally days away here in Michigan and for the first time in several years I do not have a school to report to Tuesday morning. Tonight I took my son to his 6th grade orientation. As best as I could I got through it. I tried to focus on what he needed to know and not dwell on the emotions that kept trying to take a hold of me. It was hard for me to be in the school building. I miss the anticipation that comes with the start of a new school year. The joy of seeing faces that you haven't seen all summer, the anxiousness that the new year brings about, and the busyness of being sure that everything is set for the first day. All of these things are missing this year and I don't like the emptiness that is left in it's place. I am usually a person that speaks his mind but it seems that this blog is the only way for me to express my thoughts and feelings lately. For the first time in a long time I have thoughts of worry creeping into my mind. My wife has always gotten frustrated with me because I tend to have the attitude that everything is going to work out and I don't need to worry about it. I am trying to remain positive and keep that attitude because deep down I believe that God does have things in His control and I have nothing to worry about.........

.......but Satan seems to be hitting me hard with worry this week. The month is almost over and a new month is coming and we all know what a new month brings. So what do you do when you are faced with the temptation of sin, and I believe that worry is a sin (Matthew 6)?

The best answer that I have come up with is to turn it over to the Father. So I pray that I can overcome this worrying and put my complete trust in the one who created me and says not to worry. I ask that you lift my family and I up in prayer right now though as we are facing a lot of uncertainty and are continuing to strive for complete trust in Him. It would be greatly appreciated.

God Bless!

Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Aggie and Me

Today started with an early morning wake-up call from my alarm clock, aka, my cell phone. Aggie (my 3rd child) and I were leaving early to head to Indianapolis to my grandfather's home. We had a good trip down. We averaged over 70 mph and about 29 mpg on the trip. I won't give the exact stats on the speed because I do know that some law enforcement people read this blog sometimes. I will state that I was getting passed on a regular basis though. We arrived at Grandpa's shortly before 1 pm. We visited for a while, before he had to leave for some plans he had, then we went to get something to eat. We ended up taking a trip down memory lane and eating at the same place we had eaten at when we were basically snowed in at Christmas time a couple years ago. Aggie remembered it. The boneless wings and pizza were delicious. We then went back to the house for a little r & r. Aggie watched tv and I snoozed. We then decided to go on a little outing to a family amusement place. We did a round of miniature golf and played some games. We spent about 2 hours there having a great time. Afterwards we made a stop at a local DQ on the way back to Grandpa's. Now we are just hanging out. Aggie is getting ready for bed and I am watching a little Little League World Series action while blogging. It has been a good day. I don't get to spend enough time with each of my kids 1 on 1 like Aggie and I got to today. Logan and I probably get the most 1 on 1 time because of all the coaching I do for the teams he plays on but the others don't usually get dad to themselves for any length of time. I must try to do something about that from now on.


We saw this car in the parking lot of the bowling alley next door to the place we went miniature golfing at. This Lamborghini has a handicap license plate but is no where near a handicap spot. It was actually closer to the road than the entrance to the bowling alley.

Monday, August 11, 2014

RIP Mr. Williams


That is the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the name Robin Williams. I don't really know why it just is. It is by far not my favorite film of his, that would be Dead Poets Society. Mr. Williams is probably my all time favorite comedic actor. I remember the days of Mork and Mindy fondly. Nannoo Nannoo. The reports that his death is due to an apparent suicide are saddening. Why does someone who has so much choose to end his or her own life, is something we hear a lot of in situations like this. But did he really have all that much? Sure he probably was well off monetarily but obviously there was something missing from his life. We will probably never know for sure what that was but we do know that he was dealing with depression. 

Depression is a terrible thing. I know, I am dealing with it now. Feelings of inadequacy, feelings of uselessness, feelings that I am not good enough, and so on. I think we all have these feelings at different times and at differing degrees. According to WebMD and estimated 19 million American adults struggle with major depression. Statistically speaking, you probably talked to someone today that is dealing with depression. 

To go back to what I said about something being missing. What do you think that thing is? As many of you know I am a man of faith. I have a strong faith in God. Do I always rely on it like I should? To be blunt, absolutely not. I believe that as a Christian my faith is tested every day. Satan is constantly bombarding me with temptations, doubts, and other things to get me to question that faith. I am in a spiritual battle. We all are. We are all creations of the one Creator. In that creation we were made in His image. We were made by Him for Him. In His infinite wisdom he gave us the blessing of free will. (some days I think it is a curse) The one thing that I think is missing in many peoples' lives is a personal relationship with God and His son Jesus Christ. 

I know it has been quite awhile since I blogged, for many reasons, but this week I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine about some personal battles I am dealing with and he said I needed to start writing again. I agreed but wasn't really motivated to do it. Then tonight I read the news of Williams passing. I decided that writing good be good therapy tonight so I sat down at my computer and began to type. I realize I am rambling a bit but here is what I am getting at. You need to have a personal relationship with your Creator!

See, when you have a personal relationship with God you are never alone. If you believe in Jesus Christ, confess your sins, repent of those sins, and accept Him as your Lord and Savior you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. That gift is priceless. In Romans 8:26 we are told "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness..." Depression is a weakness. I don't have to deal with that alone. I may not know what I need, or even exactly what the underlying issue is but because of my personal relationship and that gift of the Holy Spirit I can reach out to God in prayer through the Spirit and as the verse continues "We do not know what we out to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." I find it awesome that even though my feeble mind can't always make sense of a situation I can go to God in prayer and He will answer me. 

Do I have all the answers? No. I am in no ways a biblical scholar or an expert. I am just a simple man struggling each and every day to be the man God wants me to be. I am not perfect and most days lately have been failures by me to do my part in this relationship. But, as with any relationship, you have to work at it. So I will continue to work at strengthening my relationship with God and with His help I will battle the issues that I am faced with and I will survive and be stronger for it. But it will be because of Him, not me. 

In closing, Romans 8 finishes with a powerful couple of verses (38 & 39) "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Tribute

Happy Father's Day!!

Today we celebrate the men in our lives that we call dad. Some people don't have a father that they can honor today, some due to absenteeism, some death, some don't even know their fathers. I am blessed beyond what I deserve because not only do I have a father who is involved and loves me but he is one of my best friends. He has always been there for me. I don't remember any of the big moments in my life where my dad wasn't there. I am sure he missed some things over the past 40 plus years but none that come to mind so they must not have been too important. I am blessed by his example that he has set, and continues to set for me. As many of you know I had a major life decision that I had to make just recently and I keep getting asked, what am I going to do now. I don't really know what my future holds at this point but due to my father's guidance, influence, and example I have a faith that allows me to understand that God has a plan and everything will work out in His time. I don't always understand (most of the time I don't) and I don't always have the patience to be faithful but I do know that without my dad's example I would not be able to handle things when they aren't what I want them to be. So dad, I love you, and thanks for all you have done, and continue to do in our family, in your school, and in your church. You are a blessing to all those that have the privilege of knowing you.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A story

Once upon a time a little boy wandered onto a neighborhood basketball court. The little boy had wandered away from the adjacent playground and the not so watchful eye of his older sister. He was drawn by the orange ball that lay alone at one end of the concrete court. Unnoticed by the boys playing at the other end he made his way to the ball that just seemed to be calling his name. He picked it up and dropped it. The ball bounced a couple of times and began to roll away, he gave pursuit, giggling the whole time. The process repeated several times till all of a sudden a booming voice yelled, "get that kid off the court!" One of the boys had noticed the toddler as play turned to head to that end of the court. Play stopped, a panicked older sister sprinted toward the court. Then, as if he knew the young boy, the oldest of the boys, a teenager, stopped the rolling ball and handed it to the smiling boy. At that moment a bond was formed, but not just any bond, it was a bond that would grow and be strengthened for years to come. A teenager, a toddler, and a basketball on a concrete court in a neighborhood park would be the starting point of a lifelong friendship.

So, you may be wondering who these people are in the story. To be honest with you I don't know. This is the synopsis of a dream of mine. A dream to write a book, or maybe a series of books, I really don't know. I had what I like to call a "slap to the face" moment this week. It is one of those moments where you are snapped back to reality so to speak, you realize that life is real, that we only have a certain amount of time here on this earth and we don't know how long that is. It was during this moment that I realized I have things running around in my brain and I need to get them written down and recorded before they slip away. I have begun writing a story about our recent adoption. It is still in it's infancy stages, it is going to be one of my summer projects. The story I shared at the start of this post is the central theme for what I hope to someday turn into a book. I have no time table, I have no set plans, just a head full of random little stories, some true, some fantasy, that through years of coaching, playing, and watching sports have played out in front of me and in my head. Stories filled with joy and sadness, highs and lows, diverse characters, but most of all relationships fill my thoughts tonight. Relationships are what is all about. Sometimes we miss that. We are too absorbed in ourselves, and our kids that we don't spend time tending to relationships beyond the walls of our own homes. Sometimes the relationships in our homes our the ones getting neglected. Regardless, we need to be attentive to all of our relationships. What are we putting into the relationship? What are we getting from the relationship? Is it a positive or negative relationship?

Please take time this week to assess your relationships. Have you really told the people you care about that you love them enough? If not do something about it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hanging in Indy

Wow!! It has been a long time since I have blogged. Sorry if you have been missing my ramblings. So it is spring break week and I am hanging out at my grandpa's house down here in Indianapolis. He was recently in the hospital after suffering a minor stroke. He has been home for a little while so I thought I would come down and hang out at his place for a couple of days. I took him to his OT and PT appointments today and got a lot of work done while sitting in the waiting room for him to get done. Last night we had some visitors, Rosanna, Angela, and Chance came over. Chance was a riot. He is a lot like my Maddex.

I brought my mom and my daughter Aggie with me. Aggie has had a blast. She has been playing in the yard, doing puzzles, and playing with the waffle blocks. She built a whole town last night.
It has been a good trip. We went out for dinner last night and tonight and ended up going to places where kids got to eat free so Aggie has eaten dinner for free both nights. Neither time did we know it till we got to the restaurants so that was a nice little treat. She thinks it is really cool too. Her big find of the trip were some seashells she found in the flower bed that we think Grandma Catherine must have put there at some time.

We ended up driving my parents van down though. On Monday, while my better half and I were running errands the transmission went out on our Impala. I had it towed to the local Chevy dealership thinking it would be covered by the extended warranty we had purchased when we bought the car. Of course we were over the mileage, still several months short of the 3 years, on the warranty so it isn't covered. Well several phone calls back to St. Louis from Indy and with the help of a very good friend our car will be getting fixed at another place for several hundred dollars cheaper than the dealership wanted to charge us. It is great to have good friends that are willing to step up for you when you need a little help. Thanks brother, you know who you are.

Tomorrow we will probably head back north. Not sure I really want to go but there is so much I need to do since baseball season for Logan starts Tuesday and I have a softball season to start preparing for too. Once again I will be coaching Logan's team and I am really excited for it to start. I just hope that we are going to be able to practice this next week. It wasn't looking good when I left St. Louis Tuesday but I am praying for a miracle.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Thank you!

I just want to take some time to thank everyone for the outpouring of congratulations, love, and support today as we officially adopted Maddex and Ella into our family. (though they have been our kids since they came to live with us) We are truly grateful for all of our family and friends who came out to support us and for those that posted or liked our tweets, and Facebook posts. We love you all!

We had so many people at court today that they held the proceedings in the bigger courtroom. The kids loved it. They were running around playing with everyone before and somewhat during the proceedings. Everything went great and there were plenty of hugs and laughter to go around. Then everything took a turn to a bit of panic. Ella and Taylor were playing around and Ella was kind of running around the area where the carpet and wood met and turned the corner a little fast and slipped and fell, cutting her chin. Needless to say the mood changed rather quickly. Grandma Wanda scooped her up and brought her to me and we then quickly made plans for a couple of the kids and it was off to the hospital for what would be 4 stitches. (poor Ella and Nicole spent almost 3 hours in the ER) Here is a photo of Ella sleeping this evening after getting her 4 stitches.

Thanks to Lyss and Mom Daniels for taking Aggie and Gwen and Wendy for taking Maddex during all the excitement.

So now that they are officially ours we can post photos of them online. I know some of you may have already seen some, since some of my sisters have posted pics already let me now introduce everyone to my entire family.

Front row (l to r) Aggie (10), Gwendalynn (8), Logan (11)
Back row (l to r) Taylor (15), Nicole (not going to tell you), Ella (1), Maddex (3), Me (old)

"Our children are not ours because they share our genes, or because a piece of paper says they are. They are ours because they are a part of our soul. It was not an accident that they came into our lives. It was God's design that led them home. It was Him who placed them in our soul even before they were born."

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Tomorrow is only a day away!

Tomorrow is going to be an awesome day!

Tomorrow, February 3, 2014, my two little ones finally get their forever family!

Tomorrow afternoon my family will officially adopt Maddex and Ella into our family. They have been with us for about 16 months and we could not imagine life without them. They complete our family. They make 8. This has been a long journey filled with ups and downs, blessings and tribulations. Many sleepless nights, stressful situations, and more importantly special memories have filled these past 16 months. Looking back I think about a February day in 2009 when we adopted Aggie and Gwendalynn. What a great day that was and I expect tomorrow to be just as great. I just hope I don't cry as much as I did back then.

Tomorrow is going to be extra special too. My brother-in-law and his wife will be with us in the courtroom because they are adopting the two older siblings of our Maddex and Ella. These 4 children who, through no fault of their own, were faced with so much uncertainty and doubt, will finally have the finality that they need and deserve.

Any of you that have been regular readers of my blog will recognize the following quote. I penned this quote back in the fall when thinking about the things that we have gone through as a family and myself, personally through our years doing foster care and our eventual adoption of what will now be 4 kids. It really sums up my view and adoption and the responsibility that I was given from my heavenly father.

"Our children are not ours because they share our genes, or because a piece of paper says they are. They are ours because they are a part of our soul. It was not an accident that they came into our lives. It was God's design that led them home. It was Him who placed them in our soul even before they were born."

Sunday, January 19, 2014

3 Hour Delay

So the call came in that we have a three hour delay tomorrow. Three hour delays are weird for the kids I think. We start school and then 25 minutes later we are going to lunch. We will miss music, which my kids love, and the whole day will just be a bit off. Personally though I like the delay because I can work in my room and get a lot done. Tomorrow I think I will be working on report cards before school starts.

Tomorrow holds more significance than a 3-hour delay though. Our country recognizes a man and the impact that he has had on our wonderful country. Martin Luther King Jr. is honored the third Monday of January each year for his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. His "I have a dream" speech may be one of the most well known speeches. I would have loved to meet this man. His willingness to stand up in such a public way for what he believed in is beyond commendable. The contributions that MLK Jr. and others like Rosa Parks made can never be forgotten. Appropriately and probably not coincidentally, my daughter and I just got through watching the movie The Help tonight. I believe that there is still a lot of racism and hate in America but we are definitely better than we once were and I think we will continue to become more acceptable but I have to admit I am glad that I live in this time period and not in those earlier years. Throughout my life I have met many people from many different ethnic groups  and nationalities. I can't tell you a single one that I hated because of where they were from or what color their skin was. Some of my closest friends in college were African American. I can't imagine living in a time when hate was so prevalent and accepted. I believe that we are all special and that we are all basically the same, the packaging is just a bit different. Scripture tells us to love others as we love ourselves and to love our enemies. That is how I want to live my life. I want to be accepting of others for who they are based solely on who they are. I want to be color blind, I want my kids to be color blind. I have two daughters who are bi-racial. I don't want them to ever have to deal with the hate that MLK Jr. fought so hard to overcome. I hope and pray that his dream will come true one day.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Too long....but there is some great news!

It has definitely been too long since I have blogged, over a month now I think. The reasons are many, the excuses even more, but I am ready to blog again. A special person in my family's life said she misses my blogs so I figured I better get back at it. I am not promising that it will be every day or every week. I don't know how much or how often but I am going to work at doing more writing going forward. I decided that tonight I was going to write regardless because I have some great news to announce. But you will have to read to the bottom to get that. First I must vent a bit. Though what gets published will be the cleaned up, family friendly vision.

As most of my readers know, I coach basketball. I love coaching, I coach all year round basically, be it baseball, football or basketball, with a bit of softball in there too, I have very few weeks where I am not working with one team or another. Coaching is really a passion of mine. Tonight for the first time though I felt almost helpless and almost physically sick to my stomach. I felt embarrassment, I felt failure, but I refuse to let those feelings consume me or even grab hold of me. Tomorrow is a new day and there is another game to prepare for this week. Tonight, frankly we were terrible. I won't go into the details, or the possible reasons for it. There is no room for excuses. But here are the facts: we turned the ball over way too often, we didn't make shots that we should of made, our decision making was terrible, and we didn't do the little things that teams must do to win. So now we are faced with a critical point in the season I feel. The team we face next is a good team and the odds are stacked against us. Does that mean we throw in the towel, just show up, and be content with just playing? I hope not. I hope that the young men come ready to work tomorrow, that they recognize that we are better than what we showed tonight and that us and only us can do anything about it. We need to practice harder! We need to quit making excuses and execute our game plan! We need to dig deep within ourselves and vow to do the little things! We must get better every day! Today's game is over, we must learn from it and move on. I believe that this team has its best days in front of it. One of the things I love about Michigan high school basketball is that when the season is over every team is still alive in the tournament. So our mission has to be that come March when it's district time we must be playing our best basketball. So boys, if you are reading this, let's be ready to go each and every day. Let's do the extra work in the mornings, before and after practice, and whenever and wherever we can to get to that point. It isn't about how you start it is how you finish.

"Natural talent only determines the limits of your potential. Its dedication and disciplining your life that makes you great." - Coach K (@CoachKWisdom)

Okay, now for the big news. Some may have already heard that we got our tentative court date for the adoption, February 3rd. I can't wait for that day when Maddex and Ella will officially and legally join the Koutz family for life. What is really cool too is that Maddex and Ella's older brother and sister are being adopted at the same time by my wife's brother and his wife. All 4 of these special kids will finally be legally and permanently bound to their forever family. It has been a long, hard road for such young children and it hasn't been the easiest for us adults either but oh has it ever been worth it. So on February 3rd around 3 o'clock or so. We will all be crammed into a courtroom (I have a feeling we may learn what it is like to be a sardine) celebrating together as one big family! I can't wait!  For my final thought tonight I am going to leave you with a quote that I posted back in October in an earlier blog. It is a summation of my take on adoption and my family.

"Our children are not ours because they share our genes, or because a piece of paper says they are. They are ours because they are a part of our soul. It was not an accident that they came into our lives. It was God's design that led them home. It was Him who placed them in our soul even before they were born."