Tag: coaches wives

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mothers Day Gifts

Well here in Illinois we’re still sheltering in place until the end of May so this year I’m focusing on Mother’s Day gifts for around the home.

Home Decor

What about a beautiful new print to spruce up a room? These pick and paint prints are garden fresh from Claudia b design

Fresh flowers or a plant from a local garden store a great way to brighten up someone’s day! Our Farmer’s Market is slowly opening again and many farmers sell flowers at their stands.

I love the simplicity of the Hearth & Hand With Magnolia line at Target as well. The faux plants, dish towels, and little dishes will go with any kitchen.

Backyard Comfort

If you don’t have a Propane Fire Pit or a wood-burning fire pit this seems like the year to get one. I know I’m looking forward to spending more time in the backyard and I love the idea of turning on a fire! (Yes you read that correctly, I said turning on the fire)

A Patio Set

Pair your new fire pit with comfortable seating for the whole family. At some point, Netflix is going to get old. You may even be running out of things to watch! Why not grab a book and read outside for a while? Grab the sunscreen and a water bottle for an extended time out in the sun, or pop open an umbrella.

A Subscription Box for Relaxing

Does your wife knit and crochet, embroider, cook, or paint to relax? Consider signing her up for a monthly subscription where she can receive a kit of some sort. Even the best crafters have a hard time figuring out the planning part of the projects. It’s relaxing to have that aspect prepared in advance.

Check out these options:

Gift Cards for Take Out

Let’s be honest, we’ve all been cooking a lot more than we’re used to and it’s getting old. Give your wife permission to take a few days off by giving her a stash of gift cards to cash in when she’s ready for a break. Pick her favorite restaurants so you know she’ll be eager to use them rather than save them for later like moms tend to do.

Books and Bible Studies

There are so many great books that have released in recent months!

Anne Rulo released her second Bible Study. And Lisa Whittle recently released Jesus Over Everything which also includes a Bible Study. I’m LOVING the Beholding and Becoming set.

Here a few books to consider:

Don’t forget those acts of service gifts!

Clean the house for your Mama! Really get the grime out of the corners that’s built up over the last few weeks and purge all the yuck out of the house. Let’s turn the corner on these weeks of chaos with clean cabinets, shelves, and storage areas.

Give mom a break and let her go for a nice long walk while you clean. This will help her avoid the temptation to pitch in and take over.

You’ve got this! You can do an amazing job of honoring your mom even while sheltering in place.

On my 42nd Birthday

On my 42nd Birthday

For the past several years I’ve started the year by going through Powersheets tending sheets. The tending sheets are structured to set goals and include asking questions such as:

  • What are the things that fuel me?
  • What will be most important and what won’t?
  • What are your motivations?
  • What are your fears?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • What is the big picture? 
  • Where do you want to be when you are 80 years old?

Until this year the last question stumped me. 80 has felt so far away, and with so much life yet to live, how do you answer this question? This year I finally have an answer and it’s come in the form of two goals. A word and an image.

An Image

While processing the tending sheets we were at church and during worship, God drew my attention to a family visiting that weekend. The grandmother was worshipping so boldly, with her whole body engage. She wasn’t aware of anyone around her, her worship; was only for God. Within a few seconds of observation, I knew where I want to be when I’m 80 is right there. Worshipping God with my whole heart without a care in the world. Not only during worship, but I want God’s presence abundantly clear in my actions as words as well.

A Word: Authentic

I’ll likely fail every day striving for peace and harmony simply because people don’t like to hear the truth and even the simple act of typing out a Bible verse word for word will offend someone. However, authenticity is a character trait that reflects Christ in the ways I believe best lives out Mark 12:28-31 (NIV) which says,

“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’ ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.’”

When I consider the word authentic in combination with the question “Where do you want to be when you are 80 years old?” The picture that comes to mind is sitting on comfortable furniture with coffee asking a younger woman deep questions about her faith, listening, and pressing her to think just a little deeper.

Happy Corona Birthday?

I’m not gonna lie folks, we don’t do much to celebrate birthdays in our house. We usually go out to eat, there are a few presents to open, and we connect with friends and family other the phone. It’s sweet and simple which is great considering I don’t even remember how old I am some years. Remember that whole post I wrote about turning 38 only to have my mom call me and tell me I was actually 39?

corona birthday

This year, well this year it really stinks to have a birthday in March and it’s probably going to be the same for part if not all of April as well. But I’m not going to complain about Amazon delivery delays and not getting to go out for dinner because while those are disappointments, they are delays. Packages will eventually show up, some restaurants will open up for business, and our shelter in place order will open up someday.

Like many, I’m discovering the days are busier than I’d prefer, but there are also fewer distractions unless I choose to incorporate them into my routine. My Lent devotional through the lense of COVID-19 is encouraging me to reflect on questions like, “What does it mean to love your neighbor?” I’m focusing on my image and my word of the future rather than the stress of the day.

I’ve started our spring cleaning routine and we’re re-evaluating needs vs. wants. Our boys have grown out of another phase of life and the crafts we’ve hung onto for rainy days aren’t necessary. We finally unpacked the games we hastily packed this summer during our unplanned move, and we may even play them in the days to come.

My “to read” book pile continues to grow which is both exciting and frustrating. There are so many amazing authors publishing authentic work right now and I’m hungry to read and support other female writers. However, right now, work dominates my days and my mental stamina wilts in the evenings.

Is this a season of life? Is this the stress of the moment? Is this my forties? Only hindsight reflection will offer insights. In the meantime, here’s the 42. The year I press into learning more about how God pursues us and how he calls us to pursue him. The year I finally have a word and an image to answer the question “Where do you want to be when you are 80 years old?”

Supporting Small Businesses and Ministries

Supporting Small Businesses and Ministries

Supporting Small Businesses and Ministries

Since 2016 I’ve worked for a small Inbound Marketing agency based in Melbourne, Florida. We partner with clients in many different industries all around the globe with a multi-tiered approach to help each client tell their individual stories. I’m passionate about storytelling. It says so in my work bio. 😉 I love my job for many reasons, above all, over the years I’ve developed a passion for helping small businesses and business owners thrive.

Today there are a lot of business owners and employees who are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders wondering how long the COVID-19 global pandemic will continue. The stark reality is many companies will not survive this crisis. As a coach’s wife, I’m acutely aware of how generous small business owners are to their local communities. They are the lifeblood of many athletic teams, PTA fundraisers, school trips, church fundraisers, recitals, community concerts, and plays. Now is the time for community members to give back to the businesses that have supported so many events over the years.

The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that there were 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S. in 2019. Freshbooks reported in 2018 that 15 million Americans were self-employed full time and estimated that by 2020 the number would rise to 27 million. Clearly that number is now going to change.

Here are a few stats from 2018 that put small businesses and entrepreneurship into perspective:

freshbooks 2018

62% of small business owners don’t work with any staff.

20% earn less than $20,000 per year.

Life is Changing Rapidly

In the past ten days, our family shifted from packing for a getaway and meet up with our family in Minnesota at a water park in the Wisconsin Dells to sheltering in place and hunting for toilet paper online and in every store within our county. It’s jarring how quickly things can shift.

If you’re a small business owner you may have also seen a lot of your customers pause orders recently. It’s hard to know how to budget for business when you can no longer rely on projections and yearly spending trends. You’ve also likely had to make quick decisions about inventory or when and how to change your business model to adjust to daily changing rules with social distancing.

In our home, as our plans changed I suddenly realized I needed to stock up on food not only for the week home but for multiple days because our spring break was extended for an additional week. We were able to fill in most of the food, cleaning supplies, and toiletries we needed even though it wasn’t our typical shopping day thanks to a great sale at the grocery store and online pick up at Sam’s Club. This was just one tiny quick action we took. Consider how many business owners must take.

Another choice we made was to make a library run and stock up on books. The librarian mentioned we should make sure to sign up for digital access to things. He’d already heard they wouldn’t be open much longer. He was correct, they closed the following day and it will be a few more weeks at least before they open. As we chatted I realized how much life was going to change so we headed to my favorite coffee shop and bought several gluten-free pastries. I wanted them to know that even though I wouldn’t be around for a few weeks I hoped to see them when soon.

You Know Small Business Owners

Will you do me a favor? Will you take a minute and think about your neighbors, friends, and family. Make a list of how many people have a side hustle, own a business, or work for a small start-up company rather than a large franchise. Now. take that same list and consider who you know who draws a salary from mission support. For the rest of this post keep those people in mind.

Small Businesses Need Our Support

I know that right now many people are facing incredibly challenging months as we wait out our local and federal government responses to the coronavirus. There are so many unknowns. Workhours have already been cut, layoffs are occurring, and many people are looking for freelance work only to realize that businesses are cutting back in areas rather than hiring.

I believe many small business owners will eventually receive some sort of support, but which businesses will qualify and how long this who global pandemic is going to last is unknown. The instinct in such uncertain times is to buckle down and cut as many costs as possible. However, when it comes to the small businesses we believe in, we need to take time to think beyond the next few weeks.

When We Emerge

At some point, we will receive the all-clear to gather again in restaurants, churches, coffee shops, museums, co-working spaces, farmers’ markets, bakeries, concerts, and athletic events. We’ll wander around on a Saturday at the Farmer’s Market, stop at a food truck for breakfast, grab flowers and the week’s vegetables before heading out to meet friends at our favorite boutique to check out the latest trends in clothing.

But let’s pause for a moment. After weeks, possibly months without income, are you sure your favorite business will have the capital to buy supplies and reopen? If everyone stops their memberships or pauses purchasing, how can we expect that services will be available for us when we’re ready to resume normal life?

Businesses Still Have Bills

Just like households have rent, utilities, and loans to continue to pay even though we are facing a global pandemic. The same is true for businesses regardless of the size. Payroll, bookkeeping, software, website expenses, inventory, and office rent are just a few typical expenses a small business owner will pay every month.

We have to consider ways we can continue to invest in the businesses we love now, or they may not be around when we emerge from this current crisis.

Ways to Invest in Small Businesses Today:

  • Don’t cancel your memberships
  • Use date night money for take-out or delivery
  • Allocate money to spend on small businesses that you would normally spend on gas
  • Buy gift cards for the businesses you would normally be eating lunch or having coffee in with friends
  • If you have a monthly subscription where you purchase items, see if any of your friends want to take advantage of your wholesale discount.

It’s likely many businesses are going to start to run sales. Set your notifications so you don’t miss any announcements. When a Buy 1 Get 1 Free deal comes up, split the purchase with a friend. That way you both get to support a company you love and save money.

Take inventory of things around your house. I don’t know about you but I’ve been purging things like crazy lately just like we do every spring. It feels great to get rid of broken items and pass along things our boys have outgrown. As items in our house, break or wear down there are always things we need to replace.

As you replace broken items check out your local businesses. Even if you have to spend a little extra money consider the value of investing in that money in your community rather than elsewhere.

Don’t Forget About Your Favorite Ministries

One of the ways that people often tighten their belts in times of crisis is by stopping their giving to churches and nonprofit ministries. Just like small businesses the bills don’t pause for ministries during a crisis. In fact, in many cases ministries, finances are stretch thinner as people rely on extra support.

If you support missionaries financially or tithe regularly to your church it’s important to prioritize keeping these items in your budget even while we are all tightening our belts. It’s not an exaggeration to say that stopping your monthly giving could mean the difference between someone else affording their rent or paying for their groceries on a given month.

So, take a minute and review that list of small business owners. I encourage you to take some time to browse their websites as you’re hanging out at home this week. Make a list of a few items you need or want and figure out how to work them into your budget.

Make a list of restaurants and rotate where you order. Buy gift cards. Use them for future date nights and mark them for future gifts. You can use them to buy Christmas gifts for people in a few months or as a birthday or Christmas gift. Regardless of how you invest in small businesses in the weeks to come, my encouragement to you is to do so intentionally. You don’t need to go into debt to keep other businesses going!

If we all do just a little bit hopefully we’ll emerge from this horrible quarantine and discover all our favorite spaces waiting for us with adorable new seasonable outfits, the sharpest new lipstick colors, warm pastries, and delightful endless mugs of coffee that you don’t have to make yourself. Sigh…hang in there friends! We can do this together!

Are you a small business owner? Do you work with a ministry or nonprofit?

One way I support small businesses and nonprofit ministries is through my monthly blog post Wives Who Thrive. To learn more about this passion project read my invitation post here. To apply for a feature fill out this Google Doc so I can share your story!

wives who thrive
The Value of Being Present

The Value of Being Present

picture says 1000 words

I love this picture. But not for the reasons you might expect. This photo is from 2016 and someone took it after a heartbreaking loss. We were ahead most of the game and lost in the last seconds. Regardless of the outcome, the crowd was thrilled with the progress that young team made from previous seasons. We stood on that field optimistic about the season ahead. As optimistic as we felt after this game, the season ended up being one that broke our hearts in many ways. 

Athletic seasons are practically impossible to predict.  This particular season included season ending injuries, deaths of family members, and common challenges young team encounter. It is an interesting faith practice to have the majority of your family’s income determined by 18-22-year-old mens’ ability and willingness to prepare for a football game. Coaches can prepare their players, call all the right plays and still lose their job due to lack of accurate or excellent execution on the field each week.

Progress has many layers, only a few of which the scoreboard reflects. The evidence that momentum is present is something coaches measure on the practice field, in the weightroom, and in team meetings.  I remember the feeling of joy this night held as well as the ache for our team, wishing they’d had the W they truly fought hard for and deserved. But that’s not why I love this picture.

I Love This Picture Because it’s Us

There is very little to say after a hard loss. Nothing will ease the frustration. But one thing I can do is be present and this photo is my reminder that those moments matter.

As coaches’ wives we know our lives have unique aspects. For fall sports this means August thru November our weekends revolve around football games, weekends out of town, hosting people for game day, and even sometimes saying no things like family functions or church events. These days I’m either cheering from the sidelines where I pull double duty as team photographer or cheering from home while I take a weekend off to relax at home. Either way, I’m cheering on our team the best way I can that week. My presence by my husband’s side is always my choice. I love cheering on our team each week, but more than that, I delight in the opportunity to let this man I adore know win or lose I’m always his biggest fan.

In the midst of the season, it can sometimes begin to feel as if my presence isn’t enough. It is so hard to watch one you love have to carry a heavy load, and coaching always includes one. Coaches focus on much more than X’s and O’s and that W/L record. Player’s with low GPA’s, poor class attendance and bad behaviour may face game suspension. Each school sets different factors in these areas along with the guidelines from the conference requirements.

Coaches’ Carry a Heavy Burden

Study hall times are just part of the plan to support academic successes. Recruiting takes a significant portion of each week’s focus year round for college coaches. Helping to prepare players and parents for the recruiting process starts with Juniors and continues for Seniors.  With hundreds of schools to choose from high school seniors have a level of expectation that includes frequent contact, but don’t always meet the criteria coaches are looking for; this can lead to challenging conversations about accurate perspectives.

Leadership and character development also play a key factor in adding to the burden many coaches carry. Ordell works hard to surround himself with coaches who agree with his conviction to influence players using football as a tool. Regardless character development is a multi-tiered effort these days and players need mentors who can build personal relationships with them on and off the field.

To live life as an example of Christ is a key part, but not enough. All surveys and studies whether religious or secular report the same thing about Generation Z authenticity is vital. MCCP says, “This generation grew up with reality TV stars, candid photos of celebrities, no make-up selfies, and vloggers. They are used to behind-the-scenes access. Everything generation Z have been exposed to creates an expectation that they can see behind the curtain and get the real story. And this extends into every realm of life.”

Mentoring athletes on and off the field takes time and intentional relationship building.  Consider this quote from Rethinking how to pastor the ‘connected’ generation “Although misunderstood in some ways, younger generations don’t simply want to be consumers of society; they want to be contributors. As we learn to disciple young adults in their own context, we need to cultivate curiosity, encourage intergenerational engagement, and lead them to understand how the gospel transforms all areas of both their own lives and the world around them.”

As my husband’s partner I desire to lighten the heavy burden my husband carries as he leads a football program. My instinct is always to look to help, but I understand that’s not always possible. If he could delegate a task during the season so he could catch more than five hours of sleep on a regular occurrence he would. But when his job hits the time of year when demands are all-consuming daily sometimes, hourly, delegation isn’t possible. 

Presence is Valuable

I love this picture because it reminds me that sometimes my presence is enough. Listening, encouraging, commiserating. These actions are all encompassed by my presence. I succeed offering my support some some times better than others, but my intentions are always genuine. How do I know this is a helpful? Because in situations where we have opposite roles and the burden is mine to carry I rely on Ordell’s presence for comfort and to keep me steady. 

As we strive to balance a committment to prioritize our marriage and mutually support each other as we each pursue our callings, our presence matters. Whether we’re looking out at a crowd to find familiar face, exchanging a glance after a frustrating call on the sidelines, or simply standing shoulder to shoulder after a hard loss or an amazing win, the consistency of our presence FOR each other matters.

It might look like a sacrifice to an outside observer. The commitment to be present is a sacrifice. Saying yes to any choice to do something means saying no to something else. As a coach’s wife I see value in supporting my husband both for our marriage and ministry. I’m thankful for the chance to support my husband, even it if simply means holding his hand in a hard time, because standing next to him in hard times mean that I’m around to celebrate the great times together as well.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on October 24, 2016 and has been updated with fresh content.

Pursue Retreat Recap

Pursue Retreat Recap

Pursue Retreat Recap

We’re just a few days past our first Pursue Coaches’ Wives Retreat and I’m so thankful for how smoothly everything went! I knew we were in good hands partnering with Illini Land FCA because we’ve attended other events that Liz has put together. Regardless, it’s one thing to attend an event and quite another to work together to put the details together, get the word out, prepare the talks for sessions and everything else that goes on behind the scenes.

If you’ve never put together a retreat your head may be spinning, so I thought I’d give you a recap of some of the behind-the-scenes things we did to prepare for our first retreat and a few things we’re already doing to prepare for next year.

Preparation

Before the retreat, we had a lot of different things to figure out. Thankfully, many of them were quick because of previous relationships our FCA group has with local venues. We knew which hotel set up would be best and we also knew the window of time we were looking at which narrowed our weekends down considerably.

Once our date was set (January 31-February 1) we needed to figure out a lot of the details:

  • Colors
  • Theme, Verse, Name
  • Design
  • Schedule and Format for sessions
  • Speakers
  • Promotion
  • Vendors
  • Extra activities
  • Food
  • Cost and what would cost include

Thankfully we had a small team and we were on the same page about things, When we needed to make decisions we could do so quickly. We also chose to keep things simple. For example. Rather than worrying about creating a program with outlines, we opted to provide people with a custom spiral notebook. They will get a lot more use out of the notebook and it was a lot easier for us in the long run. Liz created personalized name tags for each attendee which included the sessions they signed up for on Saturday. This reduced confusion significantly and was a very welcoming touch.

Another way we chose to make things easier is that we opened a block of hotel rooms, but left reservations up to registrations. They were free to stay at the hotel or make other arrangements. Regardless, we didn’t have to deal with pairing up roommates or figuring out who was staying at the hotel.

This also kept registration costs much lower. Our registration costs included the event, t-shirt, journal, pen, dinner, snacks, and a sundae bar. Breakfast was provided by the hotel and the event ended by lunchtime so our guests we fed well the entire time they were with us.

One thing we thought of late was a group discount. That will happen right away next year.

Promotion

This was the most challenging and frustrating part in many ways. Social media algorithms are a beast to battle but we were doing so over the holidays which made it even more challenging. We created videos, a Facebook event, and promoted the event and website link on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and through Email.

We shared about the event in targeted Facebook groups, Instagram stories, tagged people, we even did a registration giveaway. With all that, we still had people the week of the event who were hearing about things for the first time. (sigh)

The lesson I learned for next time: You can never promote enough. Just keep sharing and sharing and sharing. The Illini Land FCA team had a Facebook Header and I think that would have been a good thing for us to switch out on our pages. Next year we will hopefully have more people help us promote as well since we have previous attendees.

Pursue Retreat

Before the retreat, we also had several meetings to discuss different aspects of the sessions and to fine-tune our talks. Since the team was spread across 3 states this meant chatting over video calls, voxer, and a lot of emails.

On the day of the retreat, we divided our tasks into set up (thanks to Liz and Robbie for doing the majority of this work and making things look absolutely amazing) check-in, vendors, and making sure people were feeling welcome as they entered the event.

Thankfully women are pretty chatty and we didn’t have to do much to entertain women as they arrived but we were ready to make everyone feel welcome if needed! We also planned some activities to fill in the silent times that we didn’t end up using. We had an area for women to paint their nails, and another to spend time relaxing and coloring while they chatted.

Our schedule included group programming Friday night and breakout sessions on Saturday as well as a Q & A session. Everything was well-received, although I wouldn’t be surprised to hear women say they prefer more breakout options rather than the Q & A. We started Saturday morning with a lesson on the BOAT Bible Study method which is a great way to inductively study the Bible.

Preparing for Next Year

It’s hard to believe we’re already talking about next year but at the retreat questions were already coming my way about next year’s event. After a few days of rest, I sent a request to some of the team asking them to join me for a month praying about the word purse. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that God has given me that word for 2020 and the thought I can’t seem to shake is that there are more Biblical lessons to learn around that theme.

One thing I know for sure is that God was present at our retreat and I am so incredibly thankful for all the ways he covered that weekend and brought the right group together for an awesome first retreat. I’m incredibly thankful for the leadership at Illini Land FCA who heard about a dream and kept it moving forward. And I’m excited to see all that will happen as this retreat continues to grow!

If you’re considering putting together a conference or event I encourage you to start by finding a team that believes in the same mission you are striving to accomplish. Find people who have different strengths than you but who also understands the vision you’re presenting. It’s important to have people who can unite around the same mission. But it’s also incredibly valuable to have a variety of strengths, gifts and experiences come to the table together.

Gift Ideas for the Coach’s Wife in Your Life

Gift Ideas for the Coach’s Wife in Your Life

gift ideas for the coach's wife in your life

It’s February which means it’s time to think about how to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your favorite coach’s wife! I’m a huge fan of meaningful gifts and I’m also a huge fan of creating amazing experiences like when Ordell recently surprised me with a getaway. But today’s post isn’t about my favorite things. Instead, I’m featuring some of my favorite people as well as some ideas you might want to consider as you hunt for gift ideas for the coach’s wife in your life.

Experiences

Dinner and a movie is always great, but what about checking to see what theatre? A high school theatre performance is a great way to support your local community and add variety to your date night.

Try a new restaurant, check out a concert, or consider something even more adventurous. One year for our anniversary I surprised Ordell with a date at the gun range. I hadn’t ever shot a gun before, and we haven’t been back to the range since, but going to the range together helped me learn about something that Ordell enjoys doing outside of football and we discovered that I’m actually a pretty good shot!

Coaches’ Wives Specific Gifts

Friday Night Wives has a great book written by Jordan Harrell that is a wonderful source of encouragement called 31 Days of Prayer for the Coach’s Wife as well as an adorable line of clothing including one of my favorite tshirts May Your Coffee Be Strong and Your Season Be Long

Fly Fox Apparel has this ADORABLE tote for all those game day necessities as well as the cutest mugs, home decor and apparel for the whole family.

Gifts

favorite pens

These journal planner pens are my favorite and they are the perfect addition to the gift of a journal, book, Bible, Bible study, planner, or even an adult coloring book.

Is your wife a health enthusiast? What about gifting her a new outfit from Zyia Activewear? This is a great way to tell her that you want her to feel confident and comfortable in this high-quality workout gear. You could pair this with a few online fitness and nutrition sessions with Caitlin Caserta owner of Confident Fitness

Plan for a Future Getaway

There are some amazing opportunities for you to invest in your marriage by attending a marriage conference. In addition to spending quality time together on Valentine’s Day surprise your wife with a future getaway. FCA has marriage retreats at different times of the year including one in May in Central, IL. Coaches Outreach hosts retreats all summer long over various weekends.

Regardless of how you spend valentine’s day make sure you spend part of the weekend together, even if that means hanging out on the sidelines of the basketball court or the wrestling mat.

Where Everybody Understands

Where Everybody Understands

AFCWA where everybody understands

Last weekend thousands of coaches and hundreds of their wives headed to Nashville, TN to attend the annual American Football Coaches’ Association Convention and American Football Coaches’ Wives Association Convention

I have been a member of the AFCWA for 15 years. I know this because I attended my first convention when I was pregnant with Elijah. It was in Louisville and Elizabeth Smart played the harp at the luncheon. This was also the year I met Carolyn Allen and discovered she is just as kind and down to earth as her book led me to surmise.

This used to be the one weekend where I knew no explanations were needed. Every year I would look forward to conversations that didn’t start with a lengthy explanation as well as multiple questions about football. It’s almost always been my experience when interacting with coaches’ wives at the convention they ask wise questions and receive experienced answers.

The advice is thoughtful and kind and generally without an agenda or judgement attached. Seasoned wives offer advice with the understanding that younger wives are scared. Many women learn their husbands loose their jobs while they are at convention. Many learn they are moving, others receive promotions and will return home to new responsibilities.

For me, this weekend was the only place where I was able to gather varied perspectives about the coaching life, receive encouragement, and connect with coaches’ wives in person I rarely see any other time of year.

The American Football Coaches Wives Association board members work very hard all year to connect with coaches’ wives around the country. They volunteer their time and the committment is for multiple years. It requires a financial committment to be present at the convention which isn’t cheap, so there is certainly a sacrifice. The board has expanded over the years, as have the sponsors. The impact of awarding a scholarship to a coach’s wife pursuing her education is one of the first things that led me to pay attention to AFCWA and I’m thankful I did because it connected me with some amazing women. I’m also thankful it continues to be an important part of AFCWA.

Much has changed in 15 Years

Over the past 15 years I’ve learned about multiple opportunities for coaches and coaches’ wives to get away, many of them much less expensive and MUCH more restful! If your husband is attending the AFCA convention I certainly encourage you to find the time to join him if you can. However, you should know you won’t see your husband much if at all.

These conventions run parallel to each other. In fact, there are many times when I didn’t see Ordell other than to sleep the first two days. So, it’s something to consider when you are paying that much to getaway with your spouse!

If you would prefer a getaway that focuses on the coaching life where you and your husband will see each other I suggest you consider one of these events.

If you aren’t one for large crowds you may also want to consider whether this is the venue for you. The convention is a wonderful place, however coaching is a cut throat business and I will be honest it’s not pleasant to encounter the wife who you know spoke poorly about your husband to help elevate her own without your husband around. Those things happen at convention as well on occasion and it wouldn’t be fair to only present one side of the experience. 

And if you’re looking for a less expensive coaches’ wives retreat that doesn’t require you and your husband to leave the kids don’t forget there are other options for those too! There is still time to join us at the Pursue Coaches’ Wives Retreat!!

Coaches’ Wives: Your Community Needs You

Coaches’ Wives: Your Community Needs You

coaches' wives your community needs you

There is something that has weighed on me for years. Until recently I wasn’t sure what to do, but then I had the opportunity to spend a week with my friend during her husband’s deployment.

They haven’t lived in their current city very long and they aren’t near family. My friend works full time, volunteers, leads a ministry, and works hard to raise her two young daughters. Deployment adds stress to her marriage as she and her husband strive to parent their daughters, care for each other well, and focus on their daily tasks.

This makes for long, stressful weeks. A Military Times article states only 19% of military spouses report having excellent or very good support during a spouse’s deployment. In 2017 the same survey results reported 23% of spouses had the same response. While neither is great, the drop is important to note.

You may wonder why I’m sharing this here. I’ve explored the similarities between what military families and coaching families deal with for a while now and I believe there is something coaches’ wives should consider.

Did You Notice the Outcry from Bad Memories?

Recently our country faced an extremely tense and confusing political situation. For days we waited and watched Twitter to see when Iran would follow through on their threats to retaliate against our military. Would the United States enter yet another decades-long war costing thousands of lives and wounding hundreds of thousands more?

As reports of troops deployed began to appear something else started to make the rounds as well. Wives of veterans began to share posts. Articles about how hard deployment is, photos of their husbands deploying 20 years prior, stories of fear they fought as they waited for reports after bombings on military bases. Military families across the US are experiencing trauma from their past deployments. And it’s our job to listen.

And while listening is a great first step, we can’t stop there because veterans may be facing bad memories, but there are families of troops that still deploy regularly and with this month’s announcement that is going to increase rapidly.

Coaches’ Wives: There May Be a Wife Who Needs You

I’m not going to put words in the mouths of military wives (they are doing an amazing job speaking up for themselves) but I do want to try to highlight why I believe coaches’ wives are uniquely qualified to step in and encourage and support military wives.

First, those who serve in the military are sacrificing everything for our safety. Regardless of the benefits, they may receive it’s never enough. They are sacrificing their lives, their health, their time with family, and often their mental health.

Coaching families may not have the same stresses as military families dealing with deployment, but the similarities are there and we speak a very similar language.

Consider these examples:

Moving: I wrote a post The Fear that Lingers with Coaches’ Kids and talked about how even when our boys knew we were moving locally they still instinctively had a moment of fear. Several military wives and women who grew up in the military commented that most of what I wrote translates exactly for their lives as well.

Preparing: A military wife posted: Is nesting before deployment a real thing? If not I may need to get a pregnancy test! I knew exactly what she was referring to because I “nest” at the beginning of every football season. We joked a little about it, but I also made sure to let her know we’re praying for her family. Their sacrifice is different, but I understand the stress she is facing.

The unknown: As coaching families, we often hear rumors that we’ll be facing job searches soon. How much longer will we live in our home? Where will we go next? Military families deal with the same rumors.

Building community far from family: Coaching families go where the job is and military families go where the orders move them. Both require that we build support systems in our local communities that often don’t include family.

Burdening expectations: Recently a military wife shared with me that she realized she was still carrying unnecessary guilt due to the language the military uses during deployments. Wives are told that when their husbands are deployed they need to do everything they can to let them focus on their deployment. They shouldn’t fight or upset their husbands because if their husbands are distracted lives could be lost.

THINK ABOUT THAT. What kind of unrealistic expectation does that place on a marriage during deployment when a wife, carrying the burden of everything going on at home is also afraid of distracting her husband if she SAYS THE WRONG THING?

While coaches’ wives certainly don’t need to worry about a conflict leading to the type of tension seen on the battlefield we are very familiar with burdening expectations. Whether it is the parent who expects you to act as your husband’s secretary and mouthpiece or that family member who places unrealistic demands on your time during the season, the reality is that we understand what it’s like to bear the brunt of other people’s disappointments and expectations for us about our husband’s job.

Why Should I Reach Out?

The truth is that we have an opportunity to not only build a relationship with a family in our community who needs support but to build a bridge where the media has worked to create a divide.

There are some sections of the media that are strategically trying to create a division between athletics and patriotism. The rhetoric is exhausting but the only way to fight against hateful words is to prove with action that their words are lies. The best way to prove those know-it-all opinionists wrong is to actively and intentionally serve one family at a time the best way you can.

Actions speak louder than words. Coaching families value, appreciate and respect the tremendous sacrifice of military families and it’s time to show the military wives in our communities a little more activity how far that gratitude extends. We don’t need to make a public spectacle of our gratitude. That’ s not helpful. But as coaches’ wives, WE KNOW what is helpful, loving, and caring in overwhelming situations.

Still looking for a little guidance? Check out this recent article 6 Ways to Help a Military Spouse Dealing with a Surprise Deployment

Veterans who Coach

One of the main reasons the media rhetoric surrounding a division between patriotism and athletics is false is that many veterans adopt second careers as coaches. There is a significant overlap within these careers on the other side as well in that it is not uncommon for high school and college athletics to enlist once their playing careers are complete. Military and Athletic ties run deep and because of this, I believe it’s a natural fit for coaches’ wives and military wives to pitch in and support each other when they can.

The Most Important Reason to Reach Out to a Military Wife

I can list many additional reasons why I believe you should consider reaching out to a military wife in your community. Instead, I’ll say that the most important reason to reach out is that just like you, my coach’s wife friend, military wives are used to doing things without asking for help.

They are also used to not having the option to share openly about stressful situations, and they understand that there are days when cereal is a perfectly acceptable dinner. You have more in common with the military wife in your community than you realize and my guess is that you will enjoy spending time together as well as helping each other out in stressful seasons. It’s a special thing to have a friend you can count on when family is far away. It’s even more special when that friend just gets the why about your crazy life.

So, here’s my encouragement to you. Stay attentive to who the military families in your community are and reach out to them and let them know you are glad they are a part of your neighborhood. Do more to thank them for their service. If your kids are similar ages invite them over or meet up somewhere to get to know each other better. You’re resourceful, you know what to do and if nothing else, rely on the Golden Rule. Remember, your community needs your support just as you need the support of your community. Show your local military wives your home is a compassionate and safe space where they can talk freely. You know how important it is to have someone to listen when your husband isn’t around. Military wives need that too.

Editors note: This post was originally written September 2019 and was updated for accuracy January 2020

One Key Way to Avoid Burnout

One Key Way to Avoid Burnout

avoid burnout

One of the more interesting things I’ve spent time doing is working as a Health Coach for college campuses. In this role, I worked directly with employees as a benefit of their health insurance. The programming varies, however there were very few sessions that didn’t eventually mention stress. College campuses are full of people who deeply care about their work, but they have very limited resources including time. This can lead to exhaustion as well as feeling undervalued, disrespected, and even hopelessness if left unchecked.

We Need People Looking Out for Us

In late October there was a video released of an interview with Meghan Markel (wife of Prince Harry, new mom to Archie) discussing adjusting to her new life. Tom Bradby, the interviewer brought up some concerns Harry mentioned in a previous conversation. His concern for the dynamics surrounding his wife and the press are public, but I believe for many this video humanized Meghan in a new way.

Here is part of the transcript:

“It’s obviously an area one has to tiptoe into very gently,” he added, before asking her what the impact had been “on your physical and mental health of all the pressure that you clearly feel under?”

Meghan replied: “Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable.

“So that was made really challenging and then when you have a newborn … especially as a woman, it’s really, it’s a lot.

“So you add this on top of just trying to be a new mum or trying to be a newlywed.”

Asked by Bradby how she was coping, Meghan said: “Thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I’m ok.

“But it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”

Bradby then added: “And the answer is, would it be fair to say, not really ok? That it’s really been a struggle?”

To which Meghan replied: “Yes.”

Vulnerability = Courage

Meghan’s willingness to answer honestly with a simple yes shifted the dynamics in significant ways. And if Princess Meghan Markel can be honest for the world to watch on repeat the dangit why can’t we? When asked questions like are you ok? Do you say yes or do are you still trying to convince yourself asking for help is failing? The strong thing to do is to grin and bear it right? Suck it up Buttercup! NO!!

HERE’S THE THING: No one is perfect. No one is invincible and No one is able to grin and bear life alone.

We are not meant to live life alone and we are not created to walk through hard seasons by ourselves. But if we tell everyone we are fine or stay silent when we are in hard seasons how can we expect others to know how to step up and surround us when we need them?

We Will Burnout Attempting Life Alone

Whether we are trying to muscle through work or personal challenges it’s important to pause and recognize that our choice is unnecessary. There are people surrounding every one of us that would happily help if they only knew how they could be helpful.

As coaches’ wives, ministry wives, and military wives we already carry a heavy load when our husbands are in their busy seasons at work. When football season hits I know that we are all going to have to step up and do a little more each day to just keep the house running at the bare minimum.

It takes longer to complete the workday because there are more interruptions for errands. Cleaning and laundry happen more frequently because we are all attending more events and the clutter piles up quicker. It’s harder to cook because some days we are hungrier and other days a surprise keeps someone away for dinner. In between everything, there are fewer days to rest and reset and this is a recipe for burnout if we ignore things for too long.

One Key Way to Avoid Burnout is to Connect with Your Community

This doesn’t have to require you to ask people to run errands for you or to leave your kids with them. Try going for coffee with a girlfriend to decompress rather than stress eating. Do you have to redecorate a room? Take that stylish friend with you who always looks put together. Her eye will catch things yours won’t and I guarantee she will show you a few new secrets about local sales too!

When you have hit your limit throw up the white flag and wave it until someone comes to relieve you, and when you are not in the middle of the crazy months be sure to look around and do the same for your fellow coaches’ wives, ministry wives and military wives.

Find your tribe and trust them with your hardest moments. Tell them that you need prayer even when you can’t explain why. Your tribe will understand and they will rally.

Above all, when you can, seize opportunities for extended time away where you can allow others to speak over you and life-giving truths. Take advantage of weekend trips with your husband, your girlfriends, and time alone when you can figure that out.

You will serve your family, your job, and your ministry better after some time away to recalibrate. How do I know? Because I do this fairly regularly and it hasn’t failed yet.

Resources

You know I’m not going to leave you without resources!

Midwest coaches’ wives! Check out this upcoming Retreat JUST FOR YOU! Come hear how several coaches’ wives are pursuing their callings and how you can pursue yours as we focus on our theme verse: Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17

Early Bird Pricing won’t last forever!

If you aren’t able to make it to our event here are a few other options to consider:

Spiritual Retreats at Catholic and Jesuit Conference centers are available at almost any length and design you can image and pay for including with counseling from a Spiritual Director.

General Retreats are advertised from around the world here.

Hop on Travelocity or Hotels.com and book a hotel or spa!

Looking for another event with a Spiritual component? I’m headed to St. Louis April 4th for Biblical Theology Workshop for Women with Nancie Guthrie