Several weeks ago, my parents arrived for a visit. I was so excited to have them back at our home again as it had been about 6 months since they had been there. When they arrived, my hometown girls basketball team was doing great in the tournaments in North Dakota. I have loved going to and watching basketball games with my parents as it was a big part of my upbringing. My dad was a basketball coach for all of the years that I was growing up in our home and additional years after that. My mom is an animated fan that I truly get entertained by. At many of my childrens’ games through the years, I have loved the excitement and enthusiasm that she displays throughout the game. Often, she is worn out after the game with all of the hard work that she does in the stands. There are many noises and directions coming from my mom. After all of the years of being a coach’s wife then she knows what the players should do or should not do and is vocal in her watching. I love going to games with her that she is excited about and often tease her and tell her to cheer louder. My dad is often simultaneously quietly telling her the opposite.
I did not know if she would be as animated watching our home town girls play being we were not physically at the game. Boy was I wrong. One of the coaches had sent my mom the link so that we could tune in to the North Dakota news and watch the game live. I had my laptop set up for a bigger screen, but the sound was not working for some reason. My mom put the link on her Ipad as well so that we could hear the sound. This experience was so funny. My dad and I were watching the screen of the laptop, and my mom was watching on her Ipad. We could all hear the sound coming from the Ipad; however, the sound on the Ipad was ahead of what was happening on the computer screen. We would hear by my mom’s reaction what was happening before we actually saw it. My dad and I laughed often knowing if the shot was going to be made or missed by my mom’s animated reaction. There was no question in her responses as to what had occurred. I was thoroughly amused. I was also delighted that my mom was just as excited as she would have been if we were there in person. We got to experience all of her cheers, noises, and directions that I had grown so accustomed to. The girls won and continued advancing in the direction of the state tournament championship game.
That Friday night, we were so excited to be able to connect the laptop to the tv and to all watch it together. By this time the girls had come home for the weekend from their university, and they did homework in the living room with us while my parents and I watched the game. My mom did not disappoint and was just as animated as ever. I would notice the smiles and giggles from the girls as I think they also enjoy their grandma’s involvement and reactions like I do. Our girls team won and advanced to the state championship game on Saturday night.
We already had tickets to go to the show Samson on Saturday, but we were going to try to monitor the game from our vehicle on our way home that Saturday night. The show Samson was at the Sight and Sound Theatre in Branson, MO. I had the privilege of taking my parents and my girls to this theatre on two different previous occasions where we also saw Moses and The Miracle of Christmas. All of us loved the way that this group of people brought these Bible stories to life. Samson was awesome.
The production was filled with beautiful songs and many lessons for all of us to take in throughout the musical. The cast lovingly portrayed Samson’s struggles and difficulties. They showed his faith and how God used the gift of strength that He had given him to accomplish things that no one thought possible. We watched as Samson struggled and hurt. Some of the songs were so worshipful. The staff as always was offering to pray with those in need when the production was over. They see this as their ministry, and they pray that the story and the songs come to life for those who are watching and that they are blessed. The set was beautiful and enhanced the scenes in incredible ways. Live animals were incorporated into the story as has always been our experience which we love so much.
It is a true joy for me that my parents love going to this theatre as much as the girls and I do. My parents were already excitedly talking about Noah next year. The Sight and Sound Theatre is a wondrous experience, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to go. They also have a location in Lancaster, PA. If you have the opportunity to go, then please do so. I do believe that you will be blessed.
We arrived at Branson early enough to go out for lunch and to enjoy some time together before we went to the production. I am so thankful for my parents and for the wonderful parents and grandparents that they are. They have watched the girls and I go through so much. They were there with us after my husband had his work- related accident in August 2011 in which he died 4 days later. They made a point to be with the kids and I often and surround us in love. When my only son was instantly killed in a car accident at the age of 18 in June 2013 only 22 months later, then they came and stayed with the girls and I. They put their love for us into action and were there with us. They were there with us during the absolute worst moments and aftershocks of our lives. The love that they have for us and demonstrate to us is a priceless gift. There are no words that I have that can express the depth of gratitude that I hold in my heart for my parents and for how hard they have tried to help. They have continually surrounded the girls and I in love. I miss them so much when we live so far apart. They have been a solid rock for us. I am ever grateful.
That night as we drove home with our hearts full from Samson., we played the game on our phones as much as the signal would allow. It was coming in and out, and we were able to cheer on the girls from the road for most parts of the game. Sadly, the girls did not win that state championship game, but their effort and work ethic that they put in was incredible. They made all of us so proud.
This group of girls from my hometown school made history for our community and for our school. We had not had a girls’ basketball team that had won and advanced to the state championship, and our girls made it all of the way to play in the state championship. I come from a very supportive small town, and so many people from Rugby were there that night cheering on our team. It was such a blessing to cheer on this incredible group of young ladies.
The girls and I had met Annie through my niece Abbie. Abbie and her family had lived in North Dakota for a couple of years, and Abbie and Annie became the best of friends. Last summer, Annie came with Abbie to our family reunion. After the state championship game when I was congratulating Annie on her incredible effort and work ethic, Annie shared with me that she had been wearing her no excuses no regrets bracelet around her ankle that was made in honor of my son.
Annie shared with me that she had been wearing it in every game ever since my niece gave it to her. My heart was so touched. I miss my only son every day. It has been heartbreaking for me not to have him here with us and to not have the privilege of watching him experience his senior year in high school and college and to see what he would be doing in the next seasons of his life. I miss him with all of my heart.
When Annie shared this with me, I had tears pouring down my face. It may seem like such a small gesture to some, but it is such a big deal to this grieving mom’s heart. Every time, I see someone wearing this purple bracelet in honor of my son then it is such a blessing. It says “no excuses no regrets PK 34”. His name and number are on it along with the no excuses no regrets slogan that got started by his uncle Willie and uncle Tyree at his visitation when they tried to encourage all of the young people who were there and who were upset by PK’s young death. The challenge is for us to live with no excuses and no regrets. His uncles both had played professional football and were encouraging the youth with my son’s example. The slogan caught on with the young people and with some adults as well. I always keep bracelets with me. Sometimes it gives me the opportunity to tell about my son’s life. Sometimes it encourages others to challenge themselves in how they are living. Every time it encourages this mom’s heart to see a little part of her son’s legacy being carried on through the old and the young. I am so thankful each time someone wants to wear one. I am so thankful for each one who remembers my son, talks about him, and shares his legacy. I miss him with every part of me.
Annie’s story blessed my heart in so many ways. It was so special for me to know that just a little part of my son was with Annie in that state tournament. It was an honor to watch this incredible young lady and her team from my hometown making history and truly playing with no excuses and no regrets. It was an honor for this mom to send bracelets back home with my mom for the team and the coaches. This team’s effort and hard work encouraged me and displayed the heart of the motto “no excuses no regrets”. It also renewed the challenge in me to examine my life and to look at all areas of how I am living… am I living with no excuses and no regrets? I can share that I immediately saw some areas of my own life that I want to improve in and grow in and hope that this honors my son and carries on a little bit of his legacy.
Thank you to my parents for being the best of the best. Thank you to Annie and the Rugby girls team for playing with no excuses and no regrets. You all are inspiring and have made all of us so proud.
“Time is free, but it’s priceless.” #lifehacks